2 Google Doodles Visualizing Employee Diversity

Disclaimer: I’ve been a contractor with Google’s civic research team this year. I also bought two shares of Google stock a few years ago. This post has nothing to do with either of those two things.

In a surprising gesture of transparency, Google has released their internal figures on employee diversity. The very first sentence gets to the point: “We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity.” The numbers aren’t great, but then again, it’s hard to compare Google to other tech companies of their size and stature because they’re the first to release this information.

I’ve created two Google Doodles of my own to graph these statistics:

Google logo visualizing gender diversity Google logo visualizing racial and ethnic diversity

It’s apparent in these figures that Asians are doing relatively well in the technology economy, whereas blacks and Hispanics are significantly underrepresented:

Ethnicity % of US Workforce (2012)* % of Google’s US workforce
White  80  61
Asian  5  34
Black  12  2
Hispanic 16  3
American Indian  1  < 1% (“Other”)
Two or more races  2  3

*Source: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Helpfully, Google’s interactive charts let you filter the diversity figures by ‘tech’ and ‘leadership’. These numbers are even less flattering than the overall picture. 79% of Google’s leadership are men, and 72% of its leadership is white. (Here’s Google’s official US government form, where they report that they employ zero “craft workers” and not one “operative”).

Leadership diversity at Google

Easter egg: It’s not super obvious, but Google suggests some ways they might help improve these numbers if you click the charts:

Women are half the world’s population. We’ve got to increase their participation in computer science and keep women at Google on the path to leadership.

Minority groups are underrepresented in tech and in the U.S. education system. We’ve got to increase early access to computer science and expand our search for the world’s most talented people.


Anthea Watson Strong has a great post reacting to the data from the perspective of a female inside Google and is generally a big fan of how the company approaches gender diversity. On the racial and ethnic categories and gender binary:

The categories they break the numbers out into are dumb. Google knows gender isn’t binary and that Asian isn’t an ethnicity. There are good, non-public reasons the numbers are tracked this way that have nothing to do with lack of awareness or sensitivity.