When we released the composition of our workforce almost a year ago, it confirmed what many people suspected: the tech industry needs to do a lot more when it comes to diversity. Since then, the question I get asked most is—so what are you doing about it?
You may have heard about some of the work we’ve been doing: embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities; partnering with Hollywood to inspire girls to pursue careers in computer science; building local initiatives to introduce coding to high school students from diverse communities; and expanding our employee unconscious bias training.
But these programs represent only a sampling of all the work that is going on behind the scenes. If we’re really going to make an impact, we need a holistic plan. Today, we want to share our diversity strategy, which is focused on four key areas:
Hire diverse Googlers: In the past, our university-focused hiring programs have relied heavily on a relatively small number of schools. But, we know those schools aren’t always the most diverse. For example, while 14% of Hispanic college enrollment is at 4-year schools, Hispanics make up just 7% at the 200 most selective schools. In the past two years, we’ve doubled the number of schools where we recruit, to promote student diversity. This year, nearly 20 percent of the hires we make from a university are from these new campuses.
Foster a fair and inclusive culture: We want to ensure that we have an environment where all Googlers can thrive. We’ve raised awareness around unconscious bias—half of all Googlers have participated in our unconscious bias workshops—and we’ve now rolled out a hands-on workshop that provides practical tips for addressing bias when we see it. We’re also drawing on the idea of 20 percent time to enable employees to use their time at work to focus on diversity projects. In 2015, more than 500 Googlers will participate in Diversity Core, a formal program in which employees contribute—as part of their job—to the company’s diversity efforts.
Expand the pool of technologists: Making computer science (CS) education accessible and available to everyone is one of our most important initiatives. Our CS First program is designed to help anyone—a teacher, a coach, or volunteer—teach kids the basics of coding. And since research tells us that to inspire more girls, we need to show them that computer science isn’t just for boys, we started Made with Code—and we’re working with the entertainment industry to change the perceptions around CS and what it means to be a computer scientist.
Bridge the digital divide: We also want more underrepresented communities, including women and minorities, to share the benefits of the web, and to have access to the economic engine it provides. The Accelerate with Google Academy helps business owners get online, grow and drive economic impact.
With an organization of our size, meaningful change will take time. From one year to the next, bit by bit, our progress will inch forward. More importantly, our industry will become more inclusive, and the opportunities for currently underrepresented groups will grow. We’ll share our updated diversity data for 2015 soon. We’re gradually making progress across these four areas, and we’re in it for the long term.
Posted by Nancy Lee, Vice President, People Operations
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