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Google staff mostly white and male

29 May 2014, 15:16 AP

Los Angeles - Google's workforce is mostly made up of white men, a situation the tech giant says it is trying to change.

On Wednesday, Google for the first time released statistics documenting the diversity of its workforce, responding to escalating pressure on the technology industry to hire more minorities and women.

The numbers show 70% of the people working at the search giant are men, and 61% of the workers are white.

In a blog, Google's senior vice president Laszlo Bock said: "Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity."

The numbers are compiled as part of a report that major US employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers, though, are not required to make the information publicly available.

The ethnicity data shows another 30% of Google's workforce is Asian, 3% Hispanic and 2% black. The remaining 5% is listed as two or more races or other.

Google broke new ground with the disclosure. Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is on the same path, but that it's important to share the data internally first.

Apple, Twitter, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft did not respond immediately to queries about their plans to disclose data.

Bock said Google has been working to diversify, not just its offices but in the broader tech sector. Since 2010 the firm has given more than $40m to organisations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.

And he said the company is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science.

"But we're the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution," he said.

Gender and ethnic disparities are reflected throughout the tech industry; about 7% of tech workers are black or Latino, both in Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1% and 16.9% of the US population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.

Earlier this year, Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, writing to several iconic Silicon Valley technology companies asking to meet with their leaders to talk about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.

Since then he's been leading delegations to annual shareholder's meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay and Hewlett-Packard.

On Wednesday Jackson said Google "is to be commended".

"It's a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google's lead," he said. "Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world.

"Inclusion is a complex problem - if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too."

- AP


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