$150 Million: Amount Google Will Spend To Increase Workforce Diversity


Google is expanding its recruitment efforts to include universities and communities to raise the company's level of workforce diversity.

The move hopes to entice more young women into the world of computing and technology and entrench engineers from Historically Black universities and colleges into its workforce.

The search giant, as well as many other top tech companies, landed in the media spotlight last year when internal hiring and employee statistics regarding workforce diversity revealed that tech giants are dominantly male in terms of both staff and management, with very small populations of non-white and female workers.

In an effort to be more transparent regarding workforce hiring and employee demographics, several tech titans released insight on staff diversity.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Nancy Lee, Google's VP of People Operations, said the company is embarking on a "holistic" plan focusing on four key elements that will cost $150 million.

The first key element is to hire diverse Googlers. To do that, it's moving into new college and educational landscapes, doubling the number of campuses where it recruits. She said nearly 20 percent of hires will be from the new campus recruitment locations.

The second prong of the plan is to drive a much fairer and much more inclusive culture within Google.

"We want to ensure that we have an environment where all Googlers can thrive. We've raised awareness around unconscious bias—half of all Googlers have participated in our unconscious bias workshops—and we've now rolled out a hands-on workshop that provides practical tips for addressing bias when we see it," she wrote.

That effort includes allowing workers to spend 20 percent of their work time to focus on diversity projects. She noted that more than 500 staff will be involved in Google's Diversity Core, the formal program the company is running to support employees' diversity efforts.

The third leg of the plan is to increase the base of Google's technologist population. Google has created a new program called CS First, in addition to its Made with Code program, which is aimed at helping educate young children about computer code and supporting teachers, coaches and volunteers who are making that happen.

There is a renewed focus on ensuring the effort involves young females, noted Lee, and part of that is changing the Hollywood view of those considered computing geeks and nerds.

"We're working to show them that computer science isn't just for boys, we started Made with Code—and we're working with the entertainment industry to change the perceptions around CS and what it means to be a computer scientist," she wrote.

The fourth and final part of the diversity plan is to focus on closing the digital divide among various communities, populations and global areas. The goal is to ensure everyone has the same access to the Internet and all the benefits online access can provide. The program, Accelerate with Google Academy, will also help business owners get online to boost economic impact.

"With an organization of our size, meaningful change will take time," added Lee. She acknowledged diversity is not a goal that can be achieved fast but with a steady and consistent effort.

"We're gradually making progress across these four areas, and we're in it for the long term," concluded Lee.

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