By Ellen McGirt
June 29, 2017

Google published its annual diversity numbers today.

In the three years since Google first published this report, there have been only minor improvements. You can get the full raceAhead analysis here.

In a new blog post, Eileen Naughton, Google’s VP of People Operations breaks it down:

In the past three years, women in tech roles have grown from 17 percent to 20 percent (from 19 percent to 20 percent over the last year) and women in leadership roles have grown from 21 percent to 25 percent (from 24 percent to 25 percent over the last year).

In the same period, our Black non-tech population has grown from 2 percent to 5 percent (from 4 percent to 5 percent over the last year). And in the past year, Hispanic Googlers have grown from 3 percent to 4 percent of our employees.

So, not the big bump we’re hoping for. But here’s one thing I really do know: Change takes time.

I recently had a candid conversation with a CEO who is similarly focused on inclusive culture change. His firm employs significantly more people than Google. (On background only, sorry.) As he sees it, one of the many issues they’re facing relates to leadership. Every bad metric on a diversity report is a dotted line to a senior leader who may not yet grasp the new reality or needs additional resources or coaching to do things differently. And that takes time to correct.

“There are people in leadership positions who have been doing what we’ve asked them to do for years when it comes to talent,” he said. Except the policies and strategies have since changed. “We’re having conversations about recruiting and engagement and measuring success in entirely new ways, and I’m obligated to try to bring them along.” Some people may not get there, of course. But by definition, the work of inclusion involves everyone. “If it was as easy as flipping a switch, I would have done it already.”

Google has been making some important strides. Women comprise almost half of its management team. And they are one of only 16 companies on the Fortune 500 list that makes its employee demographics public. Such transparency helps the cause enormously.

As we wait for the numbers to slowly trickle in from all the companies on the Fortune 500, it’s important to keep pressing. We need to know what these powerful corporations are doing, or no longer doing, to bring everyone along. That’s why the recent CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, an alliance of 175 CEOs promising to advance diversity in their workplaces, has so much potential. By sharing best and worst practices, it gets the work out in the open.

Naughton speaks directly to that. “More than other industries, the technology sector is extremely open about its challenges in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce,” she says in her blog post. “We all welcome the conversation and the scrutiny; it helps us raise the bar in terms of this important work and our commitment to it.”

Let the sharing and the scrutiny begin.


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