Google was very brave to post its diversity numbers last month. The company has started a national, even global, conversation about the shockingly low number of black and latino and female employees among its ranks. Now Facebook and LinkedIn and Yahoo have also confirmed what we all know, that tech is largely white and Asian and male.
And my sources tell me that a few years ago the figures were even worse.
The virtual invisibility of Black and Latino (and Southeast Asian) faces from the most impactful, prestigious and high-paying positions in technology – which I would loosely define as engineering, product and venture capital—is no surprise to me or to anyone working in this field.
But what makes the Google announcement so powerful is the data. Without data it is hard to mobilize institutional action around an issue.
Note: CNN tried for two years to obtain meaningful data on the race of employees at the country’s largest technology companies and despite a freedom of information act, they were largely unsuccessful.
I’m glad Google has changed its mind. Of course, the solution to changing these figures is still to be debated. Who’s next?