Google are puffing themselves up and feeling like Good Guys because they are the first big tech company to publish their workforce diversity data, point to it and say “we have a problem with diversity and we need to solve it”. They’ve just got themselves a death wish, basically. If they do try to solve the ‘problem’ of having too many white guys working on the tech, by, for example, favouring applicants who are neither white nor male then I reckon the company will be floundering within a decade.
Flounder, the future of Google
And what is the problem exactly? That mainly white guys apply for tech positions at Google or that mainly white guys pass the tests to become tech guys at Google? Neither of those seem like Google’s problem. And if it’s not Google’s problem why is Google suddenly looking for ways to solve it?
Perhaps there’s a third possibility. Perhaps plenty of ‘diverse’ people apply for the jobs and, perhaps, plenty of them do brilliantly in the tests but, somewhere down the line, Google just decides to not employ them because they’re black women (or something). If this is the problem it’s easily solved: just get rid of that pointless ‘no black women etc allowed’ part of the process. I suspect that this third possibility is not, however, the case. Google almost certainly hasn’t been blatantly racist and sexist in their processes. In fact, they look like the most hippyish company around with their LGBT caregiver program and such. They probably haven’t put a ‘no blacks need apply’ bit on their job ads.
What’s happened is white guys have applied and white guys have passed the tests and then the white guys have been pretty damn good at the jobs once in place.
Asian guys seem to do brilliantly too, don’t they? Given that Asians are about 5% of the US population but 34% of the Google tech workforce. What the heck is going on? If Google are such big fans of white guys why did they employ so many Asian guys? It must have been a persistent administrative error in their Google Racism Dept.
Or, the Asian guys applied and passed the tests and were good at their jobs.
“We’re not where we want to be when it comes to diversity. And it is hard to address these kinds of challenges if you’re not prepared to discuss them openly, and with the facts,” says Google.
It’ll be interesting to see what these ‘facts’ are they’re talking about. If it turns out to be these ones Google’s diversity discussion may go in a direction they’d rather it not go.
“All of our efforts, including going public with these numbers, are designed to help us recruit and develop the world’s most talented and diverse people,” says Google.
What a peculiar thing to say! They want to recruit and develop the world’s most talented and diverse people. I suppose simply recruiting and developing the most talented people wasn’t enough of a challenge.
It seems then that Google have run out of real problems to solve, so they’ve decided to mess around with a pretend problem for a while. The problem of having too many employees who know what the hell they’re doing. The problem of competence.
Perhaps Google are so damn good they can beat the competition with one hand tied behind their back! Which is very confident but I don’t think even Google can survive filling its workforce with people whose main qualification is they look good on the ‘Google is diverse’ PR literature. Presumably the best candidates will be snapped up by some other company… one that hasn’t developed a death wish.
Note: Sure, there’s a chance that Google’s policies are in some weird way ‘unconsciously’ racist and sexist. And there’s a chance this is why their workforce looks like it does. There’s a chance that ‘unconsciously’ the Google employers assume that White and Asian men are better at tech than other groups. But, presumably, the tests that applicants take would correct any such bias. (And perhaps, in doing so, show that the assumption that White and Asian guys are good at tech is a pretty good assumption anyway).