Google’s latest diversity report shows that despite the increase in the number of black workers, the company is behind schedule to double the number of black workers by 2025. And the search giant has particular difficulty retaining women of color, the report was released on Thursday (pdf) shows.
Google uses what it calls the abrasion index, and the benchmark is 100. According to the report, the wear rate for black women rose from 110 in 2020 to 146 in 2021. The abrasion index for Native American women was as high as 148 in 2021, up from 123 in 2020. By 2021, abrasion rates were also higher in Asian men and women as well as Latinx men, the report showed.
“We recognize the existing platform and the status of the brand we own, and we know there are other companies that are watching us and watching us,” Melonie Parker, Google’s Director of Diversity said in the video with the report. “And we want to make sure we not only show our success, but that we show areas that we also need to improve.”
The company made some progress on its representation and diversity goals, doubling the number of black employees hired for the U.S. management team to 7.1 percent from 3.6 percent a year earlier, and the number of women in Google management positions around the world rose from 26.7 percent to 28.1 percent. Still, Google’s U.S. workforce is 68 percent male and 32 percent female, the report shows. Fifty percent of Google’s U.S. workforce is white, compared to 42 percent Asian, 6.4 percent Hispanic, 4.4 percent black, and 0.8 percent Native American.
And Google faced a number of criticisms late last year and earlier this year for how it handled it the dismissal of Timnit Gebri, a researcher in black artificial intelligence ethics after he wrote the paper questioned the dangers of large language models. Gebru accused Google of racism and retaliation and cyberbullying months after that.
In October, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post that the company planned to double the number of black employees by 2025 and increase the number of under-represented employees by 30 percent. “We hold ourselves responsible for creating an inclusive job,” Pichai wrote.