Google recently released statistics on the race demographics of its workforce. From a diversity perspective, there were no real surprises. In Google’s leadership, men account for 79 percent and whites hold 72 percent of the jobs. Hispanics had 1 percent of the positions while blacks had 2 percent of these jobs.
We applaud Google's voluntary release of these race statistics, a first step few technology companies have taken. Google Senior Vice President of People Operations Laszlo Bock wrote, "Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity."
At World Trust we know this inequity is the result of structural barriers. Google has written about it's philantrophic efforts to build a pipeline of diverse talent. However, without understanding and addressing the system of inequity, which is what perpetuates racial and gender barriers, such efforts may have a limited impact on the demographics of their workforce.
In addition to building that pipeline, Google and others in the tech industry will also need to look within their own culture to identify obstacles that women and people of color face.
Cultural diversity training should provide an understanding of the system of inequity in order for real change to occur.
- Focusing attention on how barriers are systematized invites analysis of corporate culture and practices.
- Using a systemic frame makes it is easier for people to see how, despite good intentions, unconscious bias supports structures that do perpetuate inequity.
- Leadership together with employees can reflect on how they can personally and collectively act to promote an environment where all can thrive.
- Useful conversation about race and gender can happen when teams are working from a common frame and language for the challenge.