These 7 graphs lay bare Google's diversity problem

These 7 graphs lay bare Google's diversity problem

sundar pichai google ceo

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • Google has published its 2018 diversity report.
  • The figures show that while Google's diversity is improving, it's moving at a very slow pace.
  • The number of both black and native American staff at the firm has grown less than 1 percentage point over the past four years. Black employees are leaving more than any other ethnic group.
  • Women make up 30.9% of the workforce, but are less represented in leadership and tech roles.

Google published its 2018 annual diversity report this weekend.

Written by Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Danielle Brown, the report shows that although Google's diversity is getting better, improvement is moving at a slow pace.


Its release follows the Google board being directly challenged about diversity by a Google engineer at the firm's investor meeting earlier this month. Irene Knapp said the lack of progress on diversity has had a "chilling" effect on Google's workforce.

The overall picture

This graph shows the ethnic makeup of Google's US workforce. More than half (53.1%) were white, a drop of 2.4 perentage points on 2017.

As a result, the number of staff from other ethnic backgrounds increased by tiny margins, but they all remained broadly flat. The four-year trend is slighter better for Google: In 2014, 61.3% of its American staff were white.


Google overall representation


Google's overall representation.

Here is the same graph broken down to allow for intersectionality (i.e. the overlap between gender and ethnicity). A "+" indicates the inclusion of people who identify as more than one race, as well as people who identify as just one.

It shows that women of all ethnicities are less represented in Google's workforce than men of the same ethnicity. Google's report notes that this is "unsurprising."


Google intersectional overall diversity


Google's overall diversity presented to highlight intersectionality.

Leadership roles

This graph shows the diversity of Google's leadership positions, although the report is unspecific as to what exactly constitutes a "leadership position."

The number of women in leadership positions is up 4.7% since 2014, with women leaders now making up just over a quarter of Google's senior staff.


But the number of black people in leadership positions is up a mere 0.5% in the past four years, and Latinx people an even tinier 0.2%.

Google leadership representation


Google's leadership diversity.

Tech roles

The world of tech is not exactly known for its diversity, and the report shows that Google is still mainly recruiting white men. It did not specify what it meant by tech roles, but it's likely to include engineers and other technical staff.


Google tech diversity


Google's diversity in tech staff.

General hires were slightly more promising in some respects, with a higher percentage of women hires, black, and Latinx people. However the percentage of Asian people hired was lower than in tech.

Google hires 2017


Google's 2017 hires.


People leaving Google

Hires don't necessarily correlate to representation by themselves, employees leaving the company must also be taken into account.

This is measured by the "attrition index," which indicates how many employees leave Google annually. The global gender attrition index showed that more women than men are staying at the company.

Google gender attrition index


Google's gender attrition index.


The US the attrition index showed that more black employees are leaving than any other group.

Google Attrition by ethnicity


Google's US attrition index by ethnicity.

Google noted that the number of black employees departing had "offset" its hiring gains, leading to "smaller increases in representation than we would have seen otherwise."


Incremental change

Looking at the stats over the past four years, Google's diversity is improving at a slow rate. The overall female workforce has only increased 0.3% percentage points in four years. The number of black and native American employees has only grown 0.6% and 0.3% percentage points respectively.

Google workforce composition 2014 2018


Google's workforce composition 2014-2018.

Google intersectional workforce composition 2014 2018


Google's intersectional workforce composition 2014-2018.


"Google's workforce data demonstrates that if we want a better outcome, we need to evolve our approach," concludes the report. "That's why from now on ownership for diversity and inclusion will be shared between Google's leadership team, people operations, and Googlers."

"Googler" refers to anybody who works at Google, implying that every Google employee will be held responsible for diversity and inclusion at the company.

In a statement to Business Insider, Google's diversity boss Brown said: "We care deeply about improving workforce representation and creating an inclusive culture for everyone. While we're moving in the right direction, we are determined to accelerate progress."


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