Google’s latest diversity report shows that despite some gains in the number of black employees, the company is lagging behind its goal of doubling the number of black workers by 2025. And the search giant has particularly difficult to retain women of color, the report published Thursday (pdf) shows.
Google uses a scale it calls an attrition index, with the number 100 used as a benchmark. The attrition figure for black women on this index rose from 110 in 2020 to 146 in 2021, according to the report. Among Native American women, the attrition index was 148 in 2021, up from 123 in 2020. The 2021 attrition figures were also higher for Asian men and women and Latinx men, according to the report.
“We recognize the platform we have and the brand position we have and we know that there are other companies looking at us and watching us,” Melonie Parker, director of diversity at Google. said in a video accompanying the report. “And we want to make sure that we don’t just show our successes, but also show the areas where we need to improve. “
The company has made progress on its representation and diversity goals, doubling the number of black employees hired in its U.S. leadership team to 7.1% from 3.6% the previous year, and the number of women Google executives globally fell from 26.7 percent to 28.1 percent. Yet Google’s U.S. workforce is 68% male and 32% female, according to the report. Fifty percent of Google’s U.S. workforce is white, compared to 42 percent Asian, 6.4 percent Latinx, 4.4 percent black, and 0.8 percent Native American.
And Google faced a slew of criticism late last year and early this year, for the way it handled the dismissal of black AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru after writing an article that questioned the dangers of great linguistic models. Gebru accused Google of racism and retaliation, and facing online harassment for months afterwards.
In October, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post that the company plans to double the number of black employees by 2025 and increase the number of under-represented workers in management positions by 30%. “We will hold ourselves accountable for creating an inclusive workplace,” Pichai wrote.