Google concedes in diversity data that employees mainly male and white

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson has requested tech companies to reveal the data

70 percent of Google's employees are men and 61 percent of its U.S. employees are white, according to a workforce diversity report released by the company.

Black workers accounted for 2 percent of the U.S. workforce, while Hispanics accounted for another 3 percent, according to the report released Wednesday. Asians accounted for 30 percent of the company's employees. The gender data is global while the ethnicity information is for the U.S. only, Google said.

"....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," wrote Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president for People Operations, in a blog post.

Google and other tech companies have been under pressure to release employee diversity data from U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson who raised the issue at a Google annual meeting earlier this month. Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond stated at the meeting that Google would release its data.

"Put simply, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity, and it's hard to address these kinds of challenges if you're not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts." Bock wrote.

Jackson said in March he was to lead a delegation to Hewlett-Packard's annual meeting of shareholders to highlight underrepresentation of African-Americans in Silicon Valley companies. He subsequently visited other companies, including Google and Facebook.

"Technology is supposed to be about inclusion, but sadly, patterns of exclusion remains the order of the day," Jackson wrote in letters to top Silicon Valley technology companies, including Apple, Twitter, Facebook, HP and Google, according to rights group Rainbow Push Coalition

Tech companies like Google find it difficult to recruit and retain women and minorities, Bock wrote. Women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the U.S., and blacks and Hispanics account for under 10 percent of U.S. college graduates and bag fewer than 5 percent of degrees in computer science majors, he wrote.

In Google's leadership, the dominance of whites and males is also high, with men accounting for 79 percent and whites holding 72 percent of the jobs. Hispanics had 1 percent of the positions while blacks had 2 percent of these jobs.

Men also accounted for 83 percent of the tech employees at Google. Whites accounted for 60 percent of the tech jobs, while blacks held 1 percent of these jobs and Hispanics accounted for 2 percent of the tech workforce.

Women held 28 percent of science and engineering jobs while Hispanics, blacks and American Indians or Alaska Natives accounted for just 10 per cent of such jobs, according to 2010 data released by the U.S. National Science Foundation earlier this year.

Jackson and Rainbow Push Coalition have praised Google's decision to release the data. "We believe it is time for other tech companies to follow Google's lead. We challenge them to also voluntarily release their Equal Employment Opportunity Data/Reports," Jackson said in a statement.

The reports are typically filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and companies are not required to make the information public. When asked to provide similar data about its employees at its annual meeting, Facebook said it would not do so immediately, according to reports.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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