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Getting to work on diversity at Google (googleblog.blogspot.com)
127 points by ismavis 729 days ago | past | web | 232 comments



So women make up 18% of new CS degrees and Google's staffed at 17%. Blacks and hispanics make up under 5% of CS degrees and at Google they make up 3%. Close the ticket, it's an upstream problem.

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Well, they say they're working with "upstream" to resolve the issue:

"Among other things, since 2010 we’ve given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls. And we’ve been working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science. For example, this year Google engineer Charles Pratt was in-residence at Howard University, where he revamped the school’s Intro to CS curriculum."

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My response was flippant, which is probably why some people have been downvoting it, but I'm legitimately glad if they're working to make their hiring pool more representative of the population. But at the same time, it's hardly their fault or responsibility to "fix" it if universities just aren't graduating people in those proportions. This came right after I'd read a PBS article that claimed "Google finally discloses its diversity record, and it’s not good." Then I read a breakdown of CS grads in this submission, and Google seems to be pretty representative.

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No, it's not Google's job, but Google is in a good position to fix upstream.

One of the things you repeatedly hear from girls/young women considering CS is that there are no role models. Sending female engineers to university events is a small step, but it can have huge impact. In a nutshell, it's playing the long game :)

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Are role models in CS (and even other industries) really what drives people to pursue the career? Just looking at my own experience, its hard to pinpoint a "role model".

I'm curious why there is always such a huge focus on role models (is it a grandfathered idea from the past?) and not on the herd of other problems, such as access to tools, ease of self-learning and targeted tutorials at under-represented demographics. I'd imagine tutorials that are targeted at doing things that tend to be more popular with certain demographics would be more useful than a few famous minority or women C.S. majors, but I could be wrong.

It seems dated to me, but maybe there is some strong research that correlates to the role model idea. I'm just not seeing it.

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What swampangel already said, essentially.

It's not about having somebody you look up to all the time, but just knowing you're not alone. It might not sound like a big deal, but believe me, when you're the only woman on a 20-person team, it gets lonely.

But I'd argue that you're correct in your judgment of famous role models, specifically. What's needed is not the few famous ones, but knowledge that an average person of your minority can succeed. That others like you have travelled the path before. And famous people really don't evoke "just like me" images for most people :)

Sidenote: please let's not have tutorials that are "targeted at doing things that tend to be more popular with certain demographics". The intent is good, but it inevitably leads to pinkwashing. As it turns out, women are, like men, pretty diverse in their interests. I would assume that's true for other minorities, too.

As for tools & self-learning: That's orthogonal to having representation/role models. We should neglect neither. Nor traditional learning, and many other tools to ensure success.

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You're right about the pinkwashing. I didn't mean for it to sound as bad as it did.

Having a much younger little sister sort of led me to that comment. I'd enjoy if there was some way to teach her programming that she would also enjoy and undeniably, for her, it would be something stereo-typically associated with what young girls like (cute creatures, bright colors, etc.). Obviously girls, just like boys, have much more diverse interests than what society sees as the "standard", but it just seems that something targeted at stereotypical young "girl-y" interests (forgive me for using girly and not a more descriptive term) is missing, while there is lots of tutorials for stuff that is more stereo-typically associated with other demographics.

Hope that explained it without coming off as sexist or discriminatory. If not, I tried.

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No worries, I didn't take it as discriminatory (or sexist). It's hard to see what "other" people need, and it's easy to fall into the stereotype trap :)

FWIW, I don't object to activities considered stereotypical per se. By all means, create a "how to animate My Little Pony" workshop. Or remote controlled sewing machines.

Just don't attach "for girls". The issue is not the activity, but associating it with a demographic instead of letting it stand on its own. (And lest we forget, guys suffer from the same stereotyping - it's considered uncool by many for a guy to do anything remotely "soft and cuddly". Let's not reinforce)

I'm curious - have you asked your sister what kinds of things she would enjoy? What programming means to her, or why she would/would not consider getting into it?

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No research here, just opinions: "Representation" might be a better word than "role model".

Simply, it helps to see someone who is superficially similar to you in a job/role that you aspire to. You can imagine that person overcame many of the same obstacles that you face.

People point to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg to show that you don't need a comp sci degree to be a coder and an innovator. These examples are used to encourage people to continue in the field, not as models to pattern your behaviour after.

On the other hand, if you look at a sample of people in an industry and you don't identify with any of them, you might imagine that people like you (a) don't enjoy the work experience or (b) face some serious obstacle to success.

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> Simply, it helps to see someone who is superficially similar to you in a job/role that you aspire to.

This is the part that's kind of weird to me. Wouldn't this only be true of people with too much emphasis on superficial characteristics? I grant that there are many people like this, but we usually get a lot more info about people than just gender, race, etc. If a potential CS student reads about Zuckerberg and Page and Gates and just thinks "White Male" instead of "person who loves tinkering and breaking things down and creating, just like me" etc etc, isn't that an issue with their predilection for stereotyping? It's like someone staying out of jazz (or the NBA) because they look at its history and think "it's all black people, there's no place for me there" instead of "it's all creative and brilliant musicians (or talented athletes), I would love to be a part of that".

I get that this might be a problem that's not easily solvable so we should explore other avenues as well, but it's bizarre to me that we seem to be embracing that sort of reduction of human beings into a single physical characteristic, instead of identifying it as a big part of the problem.

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It shouldn't be the main deciding factor, but it helps. It's a signal like any other, although because it's superficial, it might be something you pick up on earlier.

Most people aren't driven to just one career path in life. They start out with a few different options that narrow as they get older. Given that, if you are investigating two careers, and they both have lots of creative tinkerers, but one of them has many more people that match up with your race and gender, is it unreasonable to factor that in to your decision?

White people don't have much historical evidence that they will receive poor treatment in the NBA or the jazz community because they're white. But black people and women do have reasons to pay special attention to signals that they might not be well received in a certain community/industry/workplace. It's not their fault for being aware of that.

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I take your general point (and between you and groby_b, I feel like a lot of my concerns were actually addressed), but for the life of me I really don't understand the fact that people keep replacing "someone" in my hypotheticals with "White people". I didn't say anything about a white person staying out of jazz due to black people: the person in my example could've been white or non-white hispanic or east asian or middle eastern or native american or aboriginal or south asian or...

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Just to follow up, I picked white people because I'm confident they don't suffer discrimination in those areas. I'm white, so the only "someone" I feel comfortable speaking for is a white person.

I'm less certain that native americans, say, who have historically been treated poorly by just about everyone, wouldn't be watching for a different set of warning signs. I don't want to make assumptions about their experience in a given community.

I agree these discussions tend to boil down to man/woman and black/white but I think that's just what most of us in North America are most confident discussing. Anyway I'm glad it's been productive.

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White males, as a group, are fairly intimidating to other groups (and often behave in exclusionary ways).

This is not an issue of "reducing to single characteristics", but of power imbalance. I can't speak for other minorities, but a lot of women are experiencing discrimination from men in some way in some place in their lives. Try looking at #YesAllWomen on twitter if you want more details.

And so it's meaningful to set an example that says "While this profession currently predominantly male, we do accept minorities, and there are many non-white/non-male people in our industry who succeeded". That is what the role model part is about - clearly communicating that it's not a clique. That privilege is at least somewhat addressed.

If there were black privilege in the NBA, yes, it'd be a lot scarier for white athletes to get in there. Looking at the odd fact that by far most quarterbacks are white (75% of them right now, and the fact that it's so low is celebrated), I think we're far from that point.

But even if we leave out the debate around privilege and pretend for the moment that it doesn't exist: Being in a minority leads to a lot of shared experiences. A creative woman interested in CS, but not in the field has more in common with other women than she has with a guy interested in exploring CS.

There are more shared experiences the longer you share that interest, and the differences vanish. But at the point where it's about getting into CS, these differences matter. And seeing somebody who is "just like you" matters, on a psychological level.

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> If there were black privilege in the NBA

> most quarterbacks are white

The NBA is the National Basketball Association. The football one is the NFL. Not that this directly addresses your point or anything but that was bugging me haha sorry...

> But even if we leave out the debate around privilege

Oh thank god you said this. I haven't yet been able to figure out how the common usage of privilege [1] in such discussions is nothing more than people trying to justify the use of classical racism and sexism in the rhetorical service of those who aren't typically the beneficiaries of such disgusting tactics. And far more often than not, any attempt to think critically about these tactics is met with "you just don't get it, probably a white male" [wrong].

> Being in a minority leads to a lot of shared experiences. A creative woman interested in CS, but not in the field has more in common with other women than she has with a guy interested in exploring CS.

This is a really good point, consider me pretty much convinced. As much as we might not _want_ one's gender or race to define one's experiences, the fact remains that it still does, upstream. My assumption was that "shared love of CS" was enough of an experience to relate to someone on a non-stereotype basis, but I can totally see how that could not be true in many cases.

[1] Note that I'm not talking about the concept of privilege per se; it's been YEARS that I've been baffled by the fact that so many people are just completely unaware of the fact that success (and many other things) is (partially) a function of many many external factors that are easy to dismiss for those who aren't handicapped by them (poverty, certain sexualities, being in certain racial minorities, being female (in some contexts), being male (in others)).

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I am not so sure.

I have two daughters. Both love computers, but will never go that way. Both are fearless about traditionally male pursuits; hunting (bow and speargun), fishing, mechanic-ing, surfing, dog training, ranching stuff.... one brought home A SHARK she'd speared. It was delicious.

One's a master of one of the big stats packages (SPSS? I forget) and the like ( was in a bio PhD program; got out with a Masters before she crippled her career prospects ).

Yawn.

It just does nothing for them. My extremely biased sample says "girls just aren't as likely to want to code." Trust me, I tried. Nope. Perhaps reverse psychology would have worked....

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I'm not sure I would want to take this to its logical conclusion. Imagine if it was mandated that every female engineer had to participate in university events. Now the job responsibilities are different between the genders, and you've made the problem worse on a different axis (equality of job responsibilities).

Think about all the articles and blog posts written by female engineers who attend conferences and are insulted that they are perceived to be non-technical, or just a recruiter, and how such an initiative would make that worse.

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Do you seriously think they don't have a surfeit of volunteers? C'mon.

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Probably not. It's usually difficult to get an engineer to waste an entire day or two visiting a university for recruiting.

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Hey, next Friday is Google's "make the world a better place" day... would you be interested in coming with me and (name) to give mini-talks at a few schools?

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I guess you'd have a tougher time if you actually call it "wasting an entire day" when you pitch the idea.

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You'd be surprised.

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Don't mandate it then? There are other ways of convincing people besides bossing them around.

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> My response was flippant, which is probably why some people have been downvoting it, but I'm legitimately glad if they're working to make their hiring pool more representative of the population. But at the same time, it's hardly their fault or responsibility to "fix" it if universities just aren't graduating people in those proportions.

If they have reasons to prefer a diverse workforce, whether or not they are at fault for the lack of a sufficiently diverse qualified applicant pool, it is their responsibility to fix it.

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> it is their responsibility to fix it.

This seems to contain two embedded and unexamined assumptions.

1. That this is a problem. If women prefer not to go into sciency fields (other than biology) why is that inherently a problem? Do you think women are too dumb to make their own choices?

2. That it can reasonably be "fixed". Spending more money on education must be the most commonly employed and most universally failed intervention in social policy.

I would also question the premise of the posting, that "diversity" in terms of race and sex is a highly desirable thing. The evidence for this is very thin, and indeed more ethnically diverse communities tend to have lower levels of trust and social capital.

There is some evidence that diversity in terms of viewpoint and skills is useful but just eg having more white women in the office may not be the great boon people assume.

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People choose whether or not to go into a field for both reasons which are intrinsic to the nature of the field and also reasons which are related to the mutable, hmmm, socioeconomic conditions? surrounding the field.

Example: I grew up on a farm and love farming. The moment I had some free cash I bought a couple of acres to engage in hobby farming. I would never, ever consider becoming a farmer professionally, because farming is a terrible job. In bad years you rely on crop insurance and loans to get by, and in good years you make enough money to cover your costs and keep going. You're squeezed in all directions by megafarms who sometimes have legitimately lower costs and sometimes just want to drop prices to drive everyone else out, real estate developers who can pay more than you for new land, and middle men who use their mass to pay producers less and charge consumers more. You'll work eighty, ninety hours a week for the pay of a McDonald's employee, without the chance of a "big score" like a startup founder.

None of these are intrinsic to the actual act of farming.

So what is the reason why the composition of the hiring pool for software engineers does not match the composition of the population as a whole? If it for reasons intrinsic to the nature of the job, that's one thing, but if it's for stupid reasons, like an unappealing culture (eg, white dude-bro culture) or lack of early access to computers and programming, well, we can fix that.

If we can fix that, and bring in all the people who are currently excluded from software engineering for stupid reasons, we could potentially double the number of software engineers.

Doubling the number of software engineers should be an obvious good.

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#1 was not an "embedded an unexamined assumption", it was the explicit condition of the stated conditional. ("If they have reasons to prefer a diverse workforce...")

#2 is, insofar as it appears to be an "embedded and unexamined assumption", simply a result of brevity in omitting "...insofar as doing so is practical without costs that make it a net loss" at the end. Obvious qualification is obvious.

> I would also question the premise of the posting, that "diversity" in terms of race and sex is a highly desirable thing.

"Desirable" is subjective. Google expressly claims to value that kind of diversity. Obviously, you might have different values, which, to the extent that the means you choose to pursue them are not themselves illegal, you are free to pursue in your own company.

> The evidence for this is very thin

The evidence is actually very strong that its a thing that some people value independently of whether it contributes to any other thing that they value.

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>Obvious qualification is obvious.

Don't form arguments this way. Dumping tautologies into an argument sounds childish.

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The quoted bit that you object to wasn't part of an argument in the first place.

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I agree with you. But "you are free to do them in your own company" seems to be less and less true, as the amount of shaming hit pieces in the media rise. Whether that's a good thing, I pass no judgements on. It's interesting watching a community's values change in real time.

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Freedom to do something doesn't imply freedom from criticism from people who disagree with you doing it.

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> I'm legitimately glad if they're working to make their hiring pool more representative of the population

What is the benefit of this?

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because programming is the new reading. The sooner we get everyone on board with that the faster we can start automating things and changing the world.

Also because I for one am very sick of dealing with all the brogrammers in SF :/

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I don't understand this sentiment. Once something is automated by one person, that same work can apply to everyone. There is no reason everyone needs the skills to do that. It's the same with any other skill.

"statistical analysis is the new reading. the sooner we get everyone on board with that the faster we can start new scientific experiments and change the world."

Reading is special because it's required to take in new knowledge and communicate quickly.

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Automated processes can be customized.

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Not necessarily.

You're assuming that the factors which drive women out of engineering do so independent of ability.

I would hypothesize that this is false, that the most interested and passionate women are least likely to be nudged out. Google should be comparing its ratio to that of their potential pool, which is presumably skewed high. If that's true, they should be expecting to get closer to 50%. (Not exactly 50, but better than the holistic ratio at least.).

Also, they can look at their specific source pools to get a less hypothetical target. Berkeley is ~50/50, for example. (http://www.wired.com/2014/02/berkeley-women/). But retroactively

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> I would hypothesize that this is false

Citation required.

And if women are less interested overall in CS and/or have less ability on non-verbal tasks overall then you would expect that the RHS tail of the distribution of women would be lower than the RHS tail of the distribution of men. This is just basic statistics.

The same applies with African Americans. Blacks in the US have far lower IQs than whites - this is not in dispute though there is a certain amount of dispute about the reason, with some people attributing it to environment. As such the normal distribution will ensure that a much lower percentage of blacks will be at the high end of the scale (135IQ+) where google gets their recruits.

So the fact that google is close to the averages suggests they are already making a lot of effort to bring in women (and non-asian) minorities. Asians are highly over-represented at google versus their fraction of the population.

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I see a lot of people make claims like this, or even stronger ones such as claiming it has little/nothing to do with environment. Charts like this bear that out somewhat with the poorest Asian and white students scoring higher on the SATs than well to do blacks: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1a52vkpjans/UmjAc5fGxtI/AAAAAAAAA6...

Generally, people I see who bring this up are usually using it as a thin veneer over racist beliefs. When asked what end discussing minority IQ serves, they usually suggest defunding inner-city (read: black) schools or similar measures.

I can't get on board with that. I think the US certainly fails at providing equality of opportunity to many groups, and there is still widespread discrimination against women and minorities. We can certainly do better and we should view people individually rather than treating them in a prejudiced way based on group membership.

I also have a hard time getting on board with a "blank slate" view of humanity. I'd love for someone to prove me wrong so I could fire back at "race realist" reddit commenters, but it seems plausible to me that different groups, especially men and women, are biologically predisposed to certain traits, on average.

I know in my career that requires both a certain amount of aggressiveness and quantitative aptitude that my colleagues have overwhelmingly been Asian or white men. I've worked with women and "under-represented minorities" who've made me feel like a chump trading, and I certainly don't harbor prejudices about them, but they're difficult to find.

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As such the normal distribution will ensure that a much lower percentage of blacks will be at the high end of the scale (135IQ+) where google gets their recruits.

There's little evidence that IQ and programming ability are correlated.

There is some evidence[1] that Mathematical ability and success at programming are correlated (30%). [1] shows that gender and programming success are correlated, but others show no correlation at all.

[1] shows an 8% correlation between spatial ability and success at programming are correlated, while [2] showed "only a small correlation".

[2] shows that people who are successful at program articulate tasks differently to those who are not.

[1] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.110...

[2] http://eprints.usq.edu.au/2259/1/CRPITV52Simon2.pdf

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> There's little evidence that IQ and programming ability are correlated.

Yes, but while programming ability is no doubt a priority for Google in programming positions, its not unlikely that general intelligence is something they desire in a broad array of positions (including programming positions.)

So, its not entirely implausible that, to the extent that there are group differences in IQ distribution, those play some role in explaining Google's diversity results (of course, IQ is not purely innate and does appear to be influenced by a number of environmental factors, though those are even farther upstream from hiring than the kind of things that Google is focussing on with regard to educational opportunities in computing for women and minorities. But there is no reason Google couldn't work to improve those, too.

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> > I would hypothesize that this is false.

> Citation required.

You may want to Google the meaning of "hypothesis"...

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You make the mistake of assuming an equal playing field where there clearly isn't one.

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Citation required.

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To be fair, the (real or perceived) opportunities for women and minorities at major tech companies like Google could very well influence the majors college students choose to pursue. If I were an 18 y.o. woman who read news articles or talked to family/friends in the industry who told me women are treated poorly at Google and the like, I might opt for a different degree. I have no idea how much of a factor this actually is in the proportions of college graduates, but I think it's worth considering as a possibility.

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Does GOOG have any self-taughts in tech positions? Might be missing some data in the staffing-to-CS-grads proportions.

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Not many, and they would mostly be acqui-hires or early hires. Google strongly prefers candidates from a list of preferred universities. If you didn't graduate from one, you'd need to be coming from another employer in order to get hired there (and even then, my understanding is that those with degrees from those universities have a better chance of being hired, all other things being equal).

They also hire (or at least recruit) based on Open Source work (I've gotten recruitment letters from them based on a book I wrote and some Open Source software I've been involved in), but I doubt that I would have been hired just on the strength of that. I've never taken them up on the offer of an interview, as I liked working for myself too much, but I suspect I would not measure up during the process, given my self-taught background and unimpressive education history. I know several folks who have been hired by Google, including folks who got the recruitment letter based on Open Source software work, and they tend to also have the strong college background.

In short, I believe that for those folks who end up at Google, they very likely got there by way of a good university. So, the upstream needs to be fixed for the diversity at Google to be fixed.

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It's {{current_year}} and people are still asking, "why does diversity matter?"

Diversity matters for a lot of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, demographic diversity is strongly correlated with diversity in points of view. You want the people building your products to come from many walks of life. Remember how Google+ had significant uptake in the rich white tech dude demographic? Not a coincidence. If you want the best people working at your company, you should want a group with similar demographics as the customer population, and if you disagree with that, you either believe there is something inherent about certain groups that makes them better or worse at these jobs, which is plainly bigoted, or you believe that there are external social biases which cause the discrepancies. If the latter is your belief, that's all the more reason to work to increase diversity as a corrective to those external social biases. Diversity also impacts the way that people see your company, which makes attracting a diverse pool of qualified candidates easier (few people want to be the only member of a certain demographic group) and is good for public relations.

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"Diversity in points of view" is not an unalloyed good. There are significant coordination costs associated with it.

It is also not something you get when you attempt to recruit people from the same sources and socio-cultural milieus with the same acceptance criteria, but of different genders and ethnicities. Hiring an ethnically diverse range of, eg, MIT/CMU/Stanford graduates does not engender diverse viewpoints.

"If you want the best people working at your company, you should want a group with similar demographics as the customer population". Huh. So, if most of my sales of akvavit are to expat Finns, I should certainly not hire a German to do my security audits. And if most of my sales of peat-optimized spades are to the Irish market, I should certainly not contract out the manufacturing to the great industrial base of Shenzhen. This seems rather insensible and possibly bigoted to me.

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> Hiring an ethnically diverse range of, eg, MIT/CMU/Stanford graduates does not engender diverse viewpoints.

I don't agree with that statement. At the very least, everyone acknowledges that women and men in the same environment have vastly different viewpoints from each other. (Source: Approx. 50% of all jokes, also science) I think that ethnic diversity will also result in more diverse viewpoints, even when passed through "purifying filters" such as elite college acceptance standards.

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>At the very least, everyone acknowledges that women and men in the same environment have vastly different viewpoints from each other.

That's a pretty prejudiced statement. I have not observed this at all when it comes to work-related items, which is what is relevant in the workplace.

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Well, maybe I didn't phrase it very well. What I mean is that in my experience, women consistently bring unexpected perspectives to my attention that are attributable to the differences in life experience between men and women in the same society, even in subjects and areas where I wouldn't expect these differences to be relevant. So I definitely see the benefit of having a more balanced ratio of men and women in the workplace, regardless of what the work consists of.

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That reminds me of this cartoon regarding the supreme court http://sedulia.blogs.com/.a/6a00d8341c82d353ef015390fee6ce97...

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"Remember how Google+ had significant uptake in the rich white tech dude demographic? Not a coincidence."

The founders of Twitter and Facebook are mostly rich white dudes and don't seem to be having this problem.

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Twitter and Facebook also had significant uptake first in the rich white tech dude demographic (or in Facebook's case, the rich white college student demographic). It's just that they later grew to encompass...everyone.

For that matter, look at the social networks that have flourished abroad: Orkut (developed by a Turkish engineer) and WhatsApp (developed by a Ukrainian). So there may be something to this...

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Orkut (developed by a Turkish engineer)...

...and wildly popular in Brazil and Iran.

WhatsApp (developed by a Ukrainian)

...and wildly popular in India, South Africa and Egypt.

Looks like white dudes of assorted nationalities are actually pretty good at building apps used by men and women of totally different nationalities. Maybe the white/asian guys at google can actually do a good job - they certainly have so far...

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Perhaps it would be worth looking at who Naomi Gleit's peers would be at Google+ and Twitter.

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If diversity matters so much and it should reflect the customer population, then perhaps Google (or any other company for that matter) should hire less smart or even dumb people. After all 47.5% of the population has an IQ between 70 and 100.

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As early product testers, absolutely. It's one thing to put yourself "in the user's shoes" as far as unfamiliarity with a product, it's another entirely to pretend to have 30-50 fewer IQ points. This could produce some valuable insights :)

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I think you might be missing the point of his comparison. The claim he's discussing is that your workforce overall should reflect your customer base, not that your product testers (much more directly related to the customer base) should reflect it. What throwaway54984 is saying is that this claim doesn't seem to hold water, through the counterexample of diversity of IQ. Dismissing it with "it only works if you limit them to product testing" is really just strengthening his argument.

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I wasn't disagreeing with the assertion he was making; my comment was intended to complement the point, not refute it. Apologies for not making that more clear.

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oh my b. Totally agree with your comment without the underlying point I (wrongly) assumed it was making.

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> Diversity [...] is good for public relations.

That's pretty much the only reason tech companies are interested in diversity.

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What a douchey thing to say. There's more to it than that, c.f. every other comment in this thread.

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"If you want the best people working at your company, you should want a group with similar demographics as the customer population"

It's not the role of every single worker to deal with how the customer interfaces with the product. So what's the point in having diversity at every level?

"and if you disagree with that, you either believe there is something inherent about certain groups that makes them better or worse at these jobs,"

no.

"or you believe that there are external social biases which cause the discrepancies."

nope

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> It's not the role of every single worker to deal with how the customer interfaces with the product.

It is, if you work at a company that values your input. (As Google does). The point is not that everybody gives input all the time - the point is that if something goes wrong that affects subgroup ${X}, there's a member from that subgroup who can speak out and provide feedback.

That doesn't work if you're in a company that believes in centralized control and top-down management. Google is not that company :)

And yes, if you disagree with that approach because you want top-down, you do believe there's a certain group that's better suited to make all decisions - they're the managers.

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> It's not the role of every single worker to deal with how the customer interfaces with the product.

Whether that's true or not really depends on the organizational structure and management philosophy of the company. From everything I've read, role differentiation of the specific type that would make that true is less true, at least within the broad umbrella of "technical staff", is not particularly prominent at Google.

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If you want diverse points of view, race is only one dimension of what you're looking for and using it as the sole measure of diversity isn't really that productive. For instance, I have coworkers that were born in Ukraine, France and Germany who are all lumped into the Caucasian group with me that offer perspectives much more different from mine than my African-American and Asian-American coworkers. My belief is that Country/Region of origin plays a much larger role in your point of view than skin color. This is particularly true when you get to technical skills since different countries educate children in different ways. I have one coworker who attended University in Dubai who's an excellent engineer, but has an approach that's very different from mine.

Also, Asian is way too corse a classification, especially for our industry. It should, at a minimum, be broken down into Middle-Eastern, those from the Indian subcontinent and East Asian. These numbers would be a lot more interesting if they subdivided Asian and then subdivided each category into US and non-US. Knowing what percent of Google's workforce is Caucasian-American rather than simply Caucasian would provide a lot more insight into Google's diversity.

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> If you want the best people working at your company, you should want a group with similar demographics as the customer population, and if you disagree with that, you either believe there is something inherent about certain groups that makes them better or worse at these jobs, which is plainly bigoted, or you believe that there are external social biases which cause the discrepancies.

From the point of view of a business, it is by no means clear to me that having a diverse workforce, at least along the traditional lines of demarcation - even assuming that this leads to a 'diversity of viewpoints' - makes the business more successful.

Hollywood, for example, spends the big money on films targeted at the notional 15-30 year old male, and medium budgets on patronising 'chick flicks' for women. It turns a very nice profit doing so, and has done for a long old time. A fortiori triple-A games, most of which I find frankly disturbing nowadays in their contempt for their audience.

Before the 1970s-80s, when equal ops and stuff really became a thing at all, I didn't notice anyone failing to make boatloads of money either, despite reproducing the much stronger racist/sexist biases of society at that time.

Until somebody shows me evidence that increasing diversity on staff and at senior levels/C-level has a causative relationship with increased profits, I conclude that capitalist enterprises are an ineffective vehicle for this sort of social change, and that people would be better served forming political parties, standing in elections, protesting, doing political stunts, strikes, whatever tickles your political fancy, than grumbling about what percentage of whom Google should have managed to hire thus far. It wasn't diversity on the board of Ma Bell that got rid of Jim Crow.

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While I agree with your last paragraph, there have been a number of studies on diversity on corporate boards, for instance:

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/is_there_a_pay... http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dobbin/cv/workingpapers/Board_Di...

That's a start. Seems like evidence is mixed, of course, with some part of the evidence "against" diversity confounded by people's unconscious -isms.

It's really terrible, these -isms: I start to worry when a woman is named CEO of a major US company because it seems like they only allow a woman in if the company's doing poorly. And it seems that's borne out by some evidence: http://hbr.org/2011/01/how-women-end-up-on-the-glass-cliff/a... Frustrating.

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Remember how Google+ had significant uptake in the rich white tech dude demographic?

Nope. It didn't have significant uptake with ANY demographic.

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Successful tech companies have to be staffed by very smart nerds. So at the end of the day their pool of candidates is that group. So the numbers you see are reflective of the people who make up that pool.

If you want to see more X in it - work on attracting X into the pool of smart nerds.

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That's what half this blog post was about.

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The reason it's important to ask 'why does diversity matter' has to do with overall program metrics. If you don't know why you're doing something, you can't state where you are going, you can't plan how to get there and you can't tell when you've reached the destination. It's a matter of accountability and making sure we're doing things the right way.

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>Remember how Google+ had significant uptake in the rich white tech dude demographic? Not a coincidence.

Other people have already said it, but what about Facebook or Twitter?

>If you want the best people working at your company, you should want a group with similar demographics as the customer population, and if you disagree with that, you either believe there is something inherent about certain groups that makes them better or worse at these jobs, which is plainly bigoted, or you believe that there are external social biases which cause the discrepancies.

That is a false dichotomy. If diversity is in itself good, then that implies that there are significant differences between ethnicities [1]. And in that case, it is certainly possible that different ethnicity might be better or worse at particular tasks, in this case coding. And claiming that the view that such differences is inherent, is bigoted, is just name-calling.

[1] Feel free to substitute ethnicity with X, where X satisfies "diversity means having people of different X".

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Thank you for typing that all out. I agree completely. As a visible minority in tech, I'm simply more attracted to companies where I feel l won't stick out like a sore thumb. Of course I want to hired for my qualifications, but I'm only applying to companies that can meet _my_ requirements as well.

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I don't get this logic. How does it matter if you are a sore thumb if you are not being discriminated? As someone who is also from a visible minority group, it never bothers me unless of course people change their behavior towards me because of the colour of my skin, which I have luckily never experienced.

Please don't feel that I am being condescending; I have come across this statement many times before and I can't understand it.

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I think a lot of it has to do with the environment where you grew up and/or have spent a lot of time. I'm white and grew up in a heavily Asian community; when I'm the only white person in a mostly Asian group, I don't feel self-conscious, but when I'm in a mostly black or Latino group, I usually do.

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First I though that people should give X more of a chance in hiring, because they shouldn't assume anything about X's background just because they are X.

Now, at the same time, people say that we should hire X because they have a different background. That sounds like a fun backroom conversation in cases where the diversity-part doesn't work out - "We hired that black guy because we wanted more diversity on the team. It turns out, though, that he has a very, um, non-black background, by which I mean that he isn't really like a stereotypical black person at all. In fact, he grew up mostly with group Y, which we already have a majority of, anyway. So I had to let him go and find some other black people, in the name of diversity."

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Don't worry so much: your black guy (or woman) can never escape his (her) fate in America! I don't think you have to worry about the being pulled over while driving, followed by shopping, and arrested when trying to get into one's own house stopping soon.

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Yes. And what's your point?

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Are these diversity numbers for the US or for Google as a whole?

If they are world-wide, I find it quite interesting how closely the location of the Google offices where software development occurs[1] matches the ethnicity numbers.

Notably, there is only one development office in Latin America (and none in Spain/Portugal), and the only development office in the Middle East or Africa is Tel Aviv (not clear what ethnicity the workers there would class themselves as).

I'm not aware of any world-class Computer Science programs in Africa. There are some decent ones in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, but increasing the number would be a problem worth tackling.

[1] https://www.google.com.au/about/careers/teams/engineering/sw...

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You are aware that every country has "race" distinctions, even if they aren't the same as the US. E.g. in Tel Aviv, it would be interesting to know how many Palestinians are employed, or in Latin America, how many Africans and natives, in China, how many Tibetans and Uighurs?

Upstream is important, but we should still make an effort.

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> E.g. in Tel Aviv, it would be interesting to know how many Palestinians are employed

Why would there be Palestinians in Tel Aviv? That's like asking how many Canadians are in Tuscon. Unless they are citizens or residents they couldn't work there anyway.

Maybe you meant to say how many Muslims? Or how many Arabs? That at least makes sense.

But in any case, the actual "race" distinction in Israel is Ashkenazim vs Sefardim.

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Right. That's what I meant. The point is some group who makes up a part of the local population but is unrepresented in a company.

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It's possible Google has this data internally but haven't released it externally yet. They don't do any breakdown by location.

And yes: I agree that change takes both upstream push and downstream pull.

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Race is US, Gender is Worldwide.

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In a number of countries you are not allowed to ask someone's race, let alone record it on your computers.

In the USA it is compulsory so you can provide these stats and protect yourself against lawsuits.

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Interesting.. my point is pretty valid then.

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(err. Actually this means there is no evidence for my point one way or another. Too late to delete though.)

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Just a nitpick, but Spain/Portugal don't fit together - the Portuguese are not Hispanic. My ancestors from my father's side fought the ones from my mother's to prevent it :)

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Sorry - I was conflating Hispanic & Latino, which of course is inaccurate.

Google's only development office in South or Central America is in Brazil (who presumably don't self classify as Hispanic either?)

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As a person who comes from a place where there has always been an unhealthy obsession with demographic classification (South Africa), I'm curious about the "Asian" classification, which seems even more worthless than the average racial classification. Does it encompass both South Asians and Chinese? Do they have a common "Asian experience" in the US? Does the average person whose ancestors came from Tehran have much in common with someone from Beijing?

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I think I get what you're saying. The continent of Africa contains more human (genetic) diversity than the rest of the world combined, yet almost everyone from it would be classified as "Black".

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The continent of Africa contains more human (genetic) diversity than the rest of the world combined, yet almost everyone from it would be classified as "Black".

Interesting that you should bring that up: in South Africa under Apartheid, the racial classification of "Black" (previously called "Bantu" and "Native") was a person of "pure" African descent.

In post apartheid South Africa, for the purposes of redress [^] "black" means Indian, Coloured (mixed race) and black Africans. Of course, it was found that disproportionately Coloureds and (especially) Indians were being appointed (they were better educated and more affluent), so there seems to be a renewed emphasis on black Africanness... our Indian finance minister was just replaced by a black African, which was viewed as some kind of milestone - incidentally Julius Malema brought this up a few years ago, but it was quickly sent down the memory hole.

There has been, in recent times the emergence of racial bomb-throwers who claim that whites cannot be "African".

In any case, my point is that even the term "black" is not as clear-cut as we would assume.

[^] I actually do support affirmative action in South Africa as a corrective measure. The potential for abuse does exist, in the future - currently whites, despite a huge amount of whining are not particularly disadvantaged. Sadly there isn't a sunset clause, although the constitution limits reverse discrimination to reversing the effects of past discrmination, a sunset clause of, say 2035, after which all racial discrimination would be banned, would have been better, in my opinion.

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Yes, it's not very useful. But there it is. It's no worse than "Hispanic" which isn't really a race, culture or single national origin.

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Although it's fairly straightforward to distinguish between gender and sexual orientation, I disagree with these traditional US categories of ethnicity.

Take a 'White' person, for instance: is a White American the same as a White Englishman, or a White Australian? What about a White Frenchman? These are all classified as 'White' but could potentially be vastly different in terms of diversity.

The same argument could be made with the other ethnicities. The 'Asian' category -- are they Chinese, Japanese, Filipino..? Or an American Asian immigrant -- Chinese-American, etc.

If you're aiming for diversity that's representative of your customer base, then surely your measure of ethnicity has to be more granular.

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Yes, race and ethnicity are socially constructed and are fluid.

No, however much you try to whitewash it, 70-30-3-4-5 is as shitty as it gets outside of legalized segregation.

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Whites are 78% of the US population, so being 70% of Google's population is a pretty fair representation. Asians are over-represented though. What exactly do you think is "fair"? I'm guessing having fewer than 50% whites at Google.

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Why would you guess that? Clearly the non-asian minorities figures are abominable.

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Because "diversity" is code for "there's too many white people here." I highly doubt anyone would complain about diversity if Google were 61% black (just like no one complains about the NFL and NBA's appalling lack of diversity).

Either way, to boost non-Asian minority percentages you've got to take away from the white or Asian percentages. Hmm... who do you think's gonna be on the receiving end of that rebalancing?

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The point is that in reality Google is not 61% Black. If it were, you'd have a point.

And people do complain about lack of diversity in the NFL/NBA, on both sides.

These are such small percentages that you wouldn't even need to reduce head count to increase representation, just hire a few more workers. But even if they did have to replace, why are you so focused on saving every last White or Asian soul to the detriment of addressing the problem?

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> why are you so focused on saving every last White or Asian soul to the detriment of addressing the problem?

Because I take offense to people saying that having a majority of white workers at a company located in a white majority country is a "problem".

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Well, minorities take offense at having a 2-5% rate of employment in a 37% non-White country so you can pick your problem, but don't just assume your personal concerns trump all others.

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What do you think the 99th percentile of SAT scores look like race-wise?

Before decrying lack of diversity in field X, demonstrate presence of one in the pool of qualified candidates.

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> Before decrying lack of diversity in field X, demonstrate presence of one in the pool of qualified candidates.

No, after identifying the lack of diversity in field X (or, in the case, Company G), finding the lack of diversity in the pool of qualified candidates tells you where you need to work if you care about diversity. But it doesn't mean "there's no problem to do anything about" -- as Google recognizes, hence whey they point to the steps they are taking to address the problems of lack of diversity in the pool of qualified candidates.

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Your comment presumes that diversity is something that is axiomatically desired. I don't - just like I don't order my bookshelf based on gender/race of the authors and decry lack of diversity there.

I personally only care about it as far as principle of fairness. Ie if one can show that company X discriminates against persons Y (by demonstrating that sufficient number of qualified candidates Y are turned away) - then it would register on my radar. Otherwise I consider 'diversity' as a tool to push through quotas that I personally detest.

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No, it doesn't presume that diversity is axiomatically desired. It has as an explicit condition ("if you care about...") that it is desired, but whether such desire is axiomatic or a consequence of an a posteriori conclusion about instrumental utility of diversity makes no difference.)

And, while your statement of your personal biases about quotas are, I suppose, revealing of just that - your personal biases - I am not sure what you think they add to the discussion. Certainly, you can't think that a statement of what you consider diversity to be an a secret code word for unaccompanied by either evidence or logic justifying that consideration says anything about anything other than your own bias.

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Your numbers add up to 112%. I'm also a little concerned that you can't think of something shittier than 61% white when it comes to diversity.

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It's great to be open and all, but they never mention what their goal is. Do Google believe diversity is good for workplace cohesion, their own social mobility goals, good corporate moral policy, etc.?

The data is interesting in it's own right but I don't better understand where Google is going with diversity; I only understand where Google currently stands.

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As a Google employee, the reasons I hear is that we'd like the diversity of our workforce to more accurately reflect the diversity of our users, so we can serve them better.

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[deleted]

Does this mean we should empose[sic] quotas to get Blacks out of the NFL and replace them with Whites

No to the quotas.

But yes, race in the NFL (and in many sports) is an issue that should be addressed. The old problem of the low proportion of black quarterbacks is slowly being addressed, and the Rooney Rule[1] has had some success with the underrepresentation of black coaches.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooney_Rule

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[deleted]

It sounds to me like you believe that some ethnic groups have intrinsic (genetic) advantages over others in some areas.

Like most things to do with race there is a tiny, tiny sliver of truth in this, but not enough to explain the outcomes.

sigh

Lets look at sports.

Sprints: The ACTN3 gene[1] is associated with the fast-twitch muscles, and is more prevalent in people of West African descent. Out of the last 7 Olympic 100m mens finals all 56 finalists have been of West African descent. Only 2 out of the top 500 100m race times are by people without African descent.

Case closed? No. The proportion of sprint wins by West Africans is much higher than the prevalence of the ACTN3 gene would explain, and other power sports (notably weight lifting) are dominated by other ethnic groups with a more average distribution of the gene.

Distance running: The Kalenjin tribe (mostly from Kenya) has dominated distance running since the late 1990s. Most of their competition has come from Ethiopian runners and the occasional North African (especially in the women's events)[2].

They do have a genetic advantage: they tend to be very skinny, with long legs and short torsos. But you can find these attributes in any population group. More surprising is that elite non-African runners performance has decreased over time: For example, of the top 10 Marathon times by British athletes only 1 (in 8th position) is since 2000, and 6 are pre 1990 (including the 2 fastest times).

This indicates something else is going on, that can't just be explained by genetics.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTN3

[2] http://www.iaaf.org/records/toplists/road-running/marathon/o... - the best place person without a African heritige is Ronaldo Da Costa at 57.

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> Lets look at sports.

> Sprints: The ACTN3 gene[1] is associated with the fast-twitch muscles, and is more prevalent in people of West African descent. Out of the last 7 Olympic 100m mens finals all 56 finalists have been of West African descent. Only 2 out of the top 500 100m race times are by people without African descent.

> Case closed? No. The proportion of sprint wins by West Africans is much higher than the prevalence of the ACTN3 gene would explain, and other power sports (notably weight lifting) are dominated by other ethnic groups with a more average distribution of the gene.

It's hard not to conclude that you're purposefully trying to fool someone here. It never occurred to you that more than one gene might be involved in sprinting?

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It's the only one I'm aware of that has been shown to have any statistically significant link with sprint performance. It's discovery is comparatively recent though (I think 2003?). It is extremely likely there are other genes that contribute too.

Sure, we know there are lots of things we don't know yet. But we do know generally in almost every case every ethnic group has individuals whose genetic makeup overlaps with those from other ethnic groups.

It's hard not to conclude that you're purposefully trying to fool someone here. It never occurred to you that more than one gene might be involved in sprinting?

My point is that there is a lot more involved in sprinting (and high-performance generally) than just genetics.

One of the best examples of this is the cross country skier Eero Mäntyranta[1]. His family carries a genetic mutation called Polycythemia[2] which means they produce a very high proportion of red blood cells (basically like the EPO doping Lance Armstrong did, but natural).

Juvonen described lab-testing samples of Eero’s bone marrow cells, which produce red blood cells. The plan was to add EPO to the cells and track the creation of red blood cells. A typical human’s bone marrow cells won’t start making blood cells in the lab until EPO is added. But Eero’s bone marrow cells began the process of creating red blood cells before Juvonen could even stimulate them with EPO. Whatever tiny speck of EPO that was already in the sample was enough to keep the red cell factories humming. Eero’s body was hypersensitive to even trifling traces of EPO.[3]

He was a very successful cross country skier (Olympics: 3 Gold, 2 Silver & 2 Bronze over 3 games), but he was still beatable, even with this unprecedented genetic advantage.

A quote from [3]:

This is why any sensible person, in response to the questions: “Is there a genetic test for performance? Is there a performance gene?”, can only ever answer “No, it’s too complex to reduce to a single gene, and tests cannot assess this level of complexity. Yet”.

Mäntyranta is about as close as it gets to that. However, despite that, I want to point out that even with this mutation, one which saw his hemoglobin levels increase by around 50% compared to the typical male, he still didn’t wipe the floor with everyone, every time. Yes, he dominated his events in unmatched fashion in 1964, but he still got beaten, and that single mutation did not confer invincibility, only advantage. That’s again an illustration that performance is multi-factorial, and it suggests that many other factors are responsible.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eero_M%C3%A4ntyranta

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Familial_erythrocytosis

[3] http://www.sportsscientists.com/2013/12/eero-mantyranta-finl...

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This is a truly comical response. To you, the only obvious racial characteristics of the NFL are

(1) Not enough black quarterbacks

(2) Not enough black coaches

and those are issues that need to be addressed?

How is the low proportion of black quarterbacks a bigger problem than the ultra-low proportion of white non-quarterbacks?

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How is the low proportion of black quarterbacks a bigger problem than the ultra-low proportion of white non-quarterbacks?

It would be if there was any other indication of discrimination against whites than the numbers. In the case of coaches and quarterbacks there was.

When I wrote that I wasn't aware of any evidence showing discriminatory hiring practices affecting white players, but I have since found an allegation of one incident[1].

Given that, I'm changing my position[2]: Yes, the NFL should act on this. I'm not sure what an appropriate course of action is (given that quotas don't work well), though.

[1] http://rollingout.com/sports/stephen-a-smith-discusses-rever...

[2] Strong opinions, weakly held...

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> It would be if there was any other indication of discrimination against whites than the numbers.

I agree with you that I don't think the NFL is discriminating against white players. They just want the best, period.

What I have issues with is when a company's racial makeup shakes out to be majority white (funny how that can happen when you draw from a pool that's majority white) and the first instinct is to say "this _must_ be because of bias."

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What's more likely:

a) White males are better at software engineering and that's why the majority of software engineers are white males (there is no scientific evidence to support this whatsoever).

b) There are socio-economic factors that lead more white males into software engineering than anyone else (there is ample scientific evidence to support this theory).

Clearly there is a bias at work somewhere. It's not necessarily a hiring problem, but rather one that starts further up the "supply chain" (if you will). We're trying to fix that.

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It's worth reflecting on why the makeup of the NFL is as it is. One could for example imagine that it has something to do with what the opportunities for people with different backgrounds are. To be more blunt, if being football players is one of the ways that people with disadvantaged backgrounds who went to poor schools have of succeeding in life, then one could view the makeup of the NFL as a symptom of a problem.

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You're equating making it to the NFL with success, which given the number of players who end up out of football within 2-5 years, with serious physical or mental damage, without a viable career path because they have been forced to neglect their education, and in many cases bankrupt, seems like a not very strong argument.

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I live in the rural south. While I agree with what you're saying, you'd be hard pressed to convince most people here of that.

Professional football is by far the most respected profession here. Top of the food chain. Of course, most teenagers recognize they aren't going to make the high school team, let alone make it into the professional realm. If you do make the team, well, try as hard as you can. And of course, most people still don't make it, there's just not enough demand for pro football players. But it's still a huge thing that people aspire to. If you do make it, everyone is going to speak of you with awe. There's a couple guys who grew up near where I did and every single person who knew them or knew of them (anyone you meet will eventually bring them up in conversation) speaks of them with total reverence - they _made it_.

Unless your parents are wealthy and/or well-educated, most people don't have a "career" as such in mind - just jobs. Football stands out - especially since the perception is that the only other professional careers boil down to things like "doctor" or "lawyer" which (so the thinking goes) require highly exceptional intelligence beyond the ken of most people, and anyway, they aren't nearly as glorious or high-paying. So it's all about aspiration - and in some places, pro sports is at the top, even if you or I think it constitutes a terrible or unrealistic career choice.

Now, in my experience, that aspiration is strongly correlated not so much with race but with your family's educational history, professions, and income. "Rich" kids (parents with income > 60k) grow up in an environment where they really understand there are other opportunities out there. They're more likely not just to go to college, but grow up believing that college is an inevitability and part of life. A ton of kids never even get that far. I think that's the kind of kid he's talking about.

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I agree with you that there are serious questions whether an NFL career is success or exploitation. However, one needs to consider a) whether the demographic that aspires to join the NFL thinks that way, and b) what the alternatives are.

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You'll note that no one has suggested that Google adopt quotas, so your whole "does this mean" thing has no basis at all.

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[deleted]

A quota implies there are limited spots. There are not. Google will hire as many qualified people as it can. These initiatives are about getting more diverse candidates in the recruiting pipeline. We are not turning away any qualified white dudes!

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Perhaps "quota" is the wrong term. Yes Google doesn't have a limit on how many people they can hire in total, but in the interest of diversity they are likely to _limit_ the number of "X" people they hire (where "X" is some over-represented ethnic group).

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As has been stated already in this thread the pool of qualified candidates forces Google to hire fewer people than they would prefer and their efforts on diversity include efforts to expand the pool of qualified candidates. They don't need to limit (or reduce) hiring (or retention) of any group to achieve diversity.

The biggest diversity win for them would be expanded hiring in all groups, but greatest in those currently underrepresented.

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> and their efforts on diversity include efforts to expand the pool of qualified candidates

OK, so it sounds like they've got a fix that'll only take a couple decades to implement.

In the meantime, how do you think Google is going to improve their minority percentages in the absence of qualified minorities?

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Not in the way you arrogantly and incorrectly keep suggesting.

Google is not going to in any way limit the intake of qualified candidates. It is mission critical for us to hire as many talented people as possible. Most teams at the company really need more people.

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You are aware that companies set hiring goals every year/quarter, right? I get that Google is "special" and printing money at the moment but typically companies don't have the luxury of saying "we have no limits! Hire as many people as you want!!!" Google will be no exception. Now -- when Google finally _does_ have to cope with the fact that they can't just increase the number of people they hire every year AND they want to tilt the ratio of X to Y, then what?

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Fortunately we don't have to deal with that issue.

But it's nice of you to assume the worst of us in that hypothetical situation.

I would assume that when that happens we would raise the hiring bar. And by that time there would be more diverse candidates in the pipeline, so we would naturally get a more diverse spread of new hires.

I strongly doubt we would sacrifice our long held policy of "hiring the best" for the sake of diversity. It flies in the face of our corporate culture.

My understanding of Google's diversity efforts is that they are centered around a) encouraging candidates from more diverse backgrounds to apply to Google (many, particularly women, do not believe they are as good as their male counterparts for social reasons), and b) encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to get into computer science. I have been involved in both these efforts at Google. And, to be quite honest, only a sociopath would see a problem with these initiatives.

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> I get that Google is "special" and printing money at the moment but typically companies don't have the luxury of saying "we have no limits! Hire as many people as you want!!!"

Yeah, but this is about Google, at the moment. Not about "typical companies" or "Google in some speculative future where they are money or task constrained, rather than employee-pool constrained".

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You say that as if you believe Google will never have a hiring freeze. Are you really that naive to think Google will continue to expand indefinitely? They absolutely will hit a point when they can't just leave the number of new hires uncapped. That's where the rubber meets the road when it comes to corporate social engineering, though everyone seems to just hand-wave that away.

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> You say that as if you believe Google will never have a hiring freeze.

No, I don't. The discussion is about Google's current state, and Google current plans to deal with diversity given that current state. A change in circumstances (and Google going from "hire every qualified person we can get our hands on" to "stop hiring anyone" would be a radical change in circumstances) would be an occasion for a different discussion.

> Are you really that naive to think Google will continue to expand indefinitely?

I think that Google's concerns about and options for approaching diversity would be different if Google was funding or task constrained rather than employee-pool- constrained, and that the proper focus of discussion is the real world that exists, not some speculative future that may or may not exist in the lifetime of anyone discussing it.

> They absolutely will hit a point when they can't just leave the number of new hires uncapped.

Its almost certain that sometime before the end of human civilization that that will happen for Google, but the time to discuss whether diversity should remain a concern and what steps are appropriate to address that concern in a funding-constrained firm will be appropriate with respect to Google when that occurs. However, it isn't the case now, so its just a distraction from the issue today.

Especially since I'm sure that -- as much as Google would hope to avoid that circumstance as long as possible -- Google would also prefer to acheive an acceptable demographic profile in its workforce before it becomes constrained in that way (and, insofar as there are business as well as humanitarian reasons for its diversity concerns, sees acheiving a good diversity profile as part of a strategy to continue growing in a way that does not result in them becoming resource- rather than employee-constrained.)

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> OK, so it sounds like they've got a fix that'll only take a couple decades to implement.

So? Some things takes lots of time to do right.

> In the meantime, how do you think Google is going to improve their minority percentages in the absence of qualified minorities?

I don't think Google has said anything which indicates that they plan to "improve their minority percentages in the absence of qualified minorities."

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Uh, no, we're not. That is an entirely baseless assertion.

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So you work at Google but you're having trouble grasping simple mathematics? OK then. Let's break it down:

X is an over-represented group of Googlers threatening their diversity. Let's say it's males. Y is, let's say, women. Z is the total number of current Googlers.

In this case, 0.7Z = X and 0.3Z = Y. (70% men, 30% women).

Still with me?

If Google were to continue hiring X at the current rate (i.e., 70% of all candidates hired), then the diversity of Z will not change with respect to X and Y.

Therefore, in order to achieve the desired balance, Y must be >> X, be that through hiring (i.e., hire more Y than X) or firing (fire more X than Y). Rinse and repeat for other over- and under-represented groups at Google. I'm not sure why this concept is lost on you.

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Maybe you didn't read my earlier post where I said that Google will hire as many qualified people as it can. There is no upper limit. Nobody is excluded because of quotas or whatever.

If Google has 100 X's and 10 Y's and hires 10 X's and 1 Y every year, the ratio of X's to Y's stays the same. If Google increases the number of Y's they hire each year to 2, the ratio of X's to Y's decreases. Not sure what's so hard to comprehend about this.

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Football is a monoculture - it doesn't matter what your race is when it comes to deciding whether to pass or rush. Services for the general public to use - from search to self-driven cars - does need to account for multicultural environments.

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It would be better if the NFL (and the NBA) would work on changing the diversity of their owners to match the diversity of their players.

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I think this is a very interesting response. If it's true, then their diversity goal will be reached when the makeup of Google workforce is representative of the world population (assuming world population correlates well with Google user population). Therefore, focusing on bringing more women in to tech is a very good goal since women may make up 50% of Google users. Secondary and third goals would be to hire more representatives from Asia and Africa

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That's more of an ideal, not really an achievable goal. How does Google measure the diversity of its users? How does Google measure the quality of their service to each people group? Does this mean Google's ideal workforce would be a near 1:1 mapping of employees to the general user population?

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As a Google employee, the reason I'd like to improve the diversity of my work place is so I can work with more than just a bunch of white dudes. I mean, white dudes are great and all, but I really value diversity of opinion and experience in my life.

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This is the feeling I'm scared of:

According to Google's numbers, whites are underrepresented at Google compared to the US at large.

What? What did I say?

Yes, european whites make up roughly 72% of the US, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_Stat..., and 61% of Googlers.

If anything, you should be wanting to see less Asian faces overall (insanely, dramatically overrepresented, 30% of Googlers compared to 4.7% of Americans), and want to see more black faces and more white female faces.

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Of all the places to force new perspective onto yourself the workplace just seems like an odd choice to me. If I want to experience different cultures a corporate office is probably the absolute worst place I can think of to do so.

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Uhhh I don't want to "experience different cultures". People of other races and genders are not weird aliens that are going to challenge me. It's not like I'm asking to import some Ugandan field workers as colleagues. I just want to engage with more, different kinds of people from my own society. There are a lot of them out there.

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I didn't mean "experience different cultures" in such a literal sense, but it's probably my own fault for wording it like I did.

Like you, I enjoy engaging with a lot of different sorts of people. I was mostly just commenting that I've found a lot more success doing so outside the workplace in my own personal life. Maybe it's the places I've worked? Hard to say.

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I have plenty of success interacting with different sorts of people outside the workplace. But I spend 40-50 hours a week at my workplace, so...

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So that's way Google exited China, right? ...

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Does there have to be a business goal? Making society more fair is a good goal. Reducing the white male preference in the job market should be a social responsibility for a company that greatly impacts our daily lives.

There could be business goals though: it improves people's public opinion of you and in this case may help protect them from lawsuits.

This link at the bottom of the page has some more info... http://www.google.com/diversity/

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> Making society more fair is a good goal. Reducing the white male preference in the job market should be a social responsibility for a company that greatly impacts our daily lives.

The data Google just posted contradicts you. 61% of Google employees are white, while 80% of the total US workforce is, see e.g. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/google-releases-emp...

That means white people are under-represented at Google.

The group whose representation is most diverging from the population as a whole are Asians, who are hugely over-represented.

Overall, the numbers show that Asians are over-represented, which may explain much of the under-representation by all other groups. So the story here is certainly not one of "white male preference in the job market". You might be right about male, but not about white.

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OT: I had this in mind when the character on House of Cards complained that she'd feel like a token Asian minority if she worked at Google.

Writer research failure.

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How is it unfair to hire what you perceive as the best candidate to work at your company? Something that's actually unfair would be disqualifying a better candidate purely because of his skin color/gender.

Also, just to emphasis what others have already replied to you; Whites are actually underrepresented at Google relative to the ratios seen in the rest of the workforce.

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DiggityDug7, if only 5% of the country was black, say, would having under 10% of your workforce be black be considered unfair?

Likewise, if the number of comp sci graduates in the country is 5%, the same question can be asked. Who is the one being unfair?

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Yes it takes the idea of a corporation strictly being beholden to shareholders and extends it to all stakeholders, which includes impacted society.

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What a lovely attitude by Google to open up and show those statistics.

It's especially praiseworthy due the fact it's not a case of "look how 'diverse' we are" but more of a "let's openly discuss these numbers".

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I don't understand why companies are obsessed with diversity just for the sake of it.

Edit: I am mexican, and I personally wouldn't like to be hired for diversity reasons, I would prefer to be hired on my abilities.

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> I am mexican, and I personally wouldn't like to be hired for diversity reasons, I would prefer to be hired on my abilities.

Which is all a non-sequitur, since nothing in Google's blog post or the linked diversity website suggest that Google's approaches to improving diversity include hiring people for diversity reasons rather than for their abilities.

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Well, no one would ever admit that anyways.

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Of course companies should only hire qualified people. Diversity is about gaining new perspectives and ensuring you're creating an environment _all_ your employees can enjoy and feel comfortable in.

Companies, rightly, don't want to stagnate by being limited to perspectives and views that don't fully reflect the world they operate in.

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I hear this all the time but really, how much of an impact does "diversity" have on yet another shitty chat app or photo sharing site? They're creating utterly trivial, harmless social applications that have NOTHING to do with racial, cultural, or religious matters.

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Who's talking about shitty startups? I don't live in silicon valley.

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I agree. I am a Russian Jew and I never needed or wanted to be hired based on diversity needs.

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And Google wouldn't hire you just because you're a minority.

The article specifically discusses Google's attempts to lure people of diverse backgrounds into computer science earlier, so that there is more diversity among the qualified candidates applying at Google.

Nobody at Google got hired to fill a diversity quota.

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Well there's using it as a checkbox and then there's real diversity. No one likes being patronized. But if it's done right you would still be judged on your abilities. And therein lies the challenge. It's a worthy goal but they better stay on top of it.

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It's tiring always being first, always being different, always being the one who has to adapt, denying important parts of yourself just to get the chance to do your job. It’s like being a stranger in a strange land, where you speak the language but nobody learns yours. That's why even women who do well in development end up leaving mid-career. http://www.fastcolabs.com/3008216/tracking/minding-gap-how-y... [You could swamp out woman with any other minority group and it would still be true. Its much harder to stick with something when the river flow is actively against you.]

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Ah, the US, where blatantly racist categorization of humans is used to prove your not racist.

Seriously, how many other countries divide people in "black" and "white"? Or is it even legal to do so?

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Not to mention it makes less and less sense everyday. Look at how many multi-racial people there are. Well, almost everybody really if you think about it.

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It's nice for Google to publish this, but their commentary is misleading.

From 2000 to 2009, 10% (48,897 / 471,318) of Computer Science undergraduate degrees were awarded to Blacks, according to NSF ([1][2]).

[1]: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/c2/c2s2.htm [2]: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/append/c2/at02-19.xls

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I found data (from 2012) for some other companies: http://money.cnn.com/interactive/technology/tech-diversity-d...

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And here's an interesting demographics map of the Bay Area from 2010: http://minus.com/i/bgqCzuSwvcAi1

I wonder the extent to which Googlers' lives at work are affected by Google's new-found focus on diversity.

When a company's culture shifts, so will its output. It's inevitable.

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The low proportion of Asian sales workers at Cisco is interesting.

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age diversity would be interesting as well

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Indeed. I would bet my last dollar that its workforce is skewed hugely, disproportionately young. And there are no convenient they-just-aren't-majoring-in-CS excuses for this either. Lots of 50 year old engineers with years of training and experience are looking for work.

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I work for Google (though not in Silly Valley) and see no obvious sign of age discrimination here. I was 46 when hired.

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Approximate ages on my team: A bunch of 20 year olds, a slightly lesser bunch of 30 year olds, and an even smaller bunch of 40 year olds. So far, I think none of us have reached 50. That's due to lack of candidates, same as with women. (And yes, there's outreach for that area too)

If you know experienced engineers looking for a job, please send them our way.

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(approximate) ages on my team at Google: 26, 32 (me), 35, ~55, ~60, ~70.

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Wow, a 70 year old engineer?!

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Ken Thompson is 71: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Thompson and he still has quite a go at programming.

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I don't have the statistics, but my impression from the Googlers I interact with is that they are generally older than the average developer.

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Why is this surprising? CS is a relatively young major compared to other engineering degrees. Also, I would bet that a large majority of CS degrees have been handed out in the last 20 years. Probably more skewed towards the last 10.

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Age diversity? Come on man, that's not important. What's really important is making sure Google isn't publicly lambasted for having too many white men on their staff.

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True diversity is diversity of thought.

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I'm always confused by the vagueness of these diversity PR efforts.

When you consciously want to improve something, you set goals for yourself, and then figure out ways to meet those goals. Then people can hold you accountable.

Google doesn't seem to have done any of that. They made a start in choosing what they're going to measure, but I don't understand it. For example, I don't think "Black" is an ethnicity. The differences between a black South African and someone from Egypt is huge, let alone a third generation American.

Also, I notice Google didn't include anything about gender in their diversity graphs, and I think everyone believes gender and sexual orientation contribute a valuable difference in perspective. I'm curious as to why they chose to exclude gay, transgendered, straight, and everyone in between and outside those labels from this push.

And then, even if they define all the categories of diversity they want, how the hell do they determine what their targets are for all the different demographics?

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"We need more diversity" is code for "we need fewer white men", but I think you already knew that. Everyone does, that's why it doesn't have to be stated.

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I really don't get why gender or ethnicity should play any role at all. Especially for jobs based on technical skill it would make a lot of sense to select mainly for ability. It is then very likely that this would have the same skewed distribution of ethnicities that all the 'elite' universities have, despite affirmative action. As a white priviledged male, I feel sort of disheartened reading that all things being equal, officially I won't be hired, unofficially of course often it is the other way around. There are plenty of countries that are much less diverse than the US and still have highly successful companies, so apart from good PR I fail to see why 'working on diversity' does have any meaningful impact.

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From a company perspective the reason is you may well be missing out on great talent and the great teams that research shows come with greater diversity.

I don't necessarily agree with affirmative action, but if you believe that many of the factors which contribute towards easily measured ability (attending a good school, work experience) may be skewed, then you presumably also accept that there is untapped potential out there - people with the ability to be as great but who have been in some way - fairly or otherwise - disadvantaged.

In IT in particular, where everything changes rapidly, you want to be hiring for potential as much as skill the candidate has today.

I don't think it's about picking someone because they're part of a minority, it's about thinking about how you look for and judge candidates to take into account that potential which so far hasn't been tapped.

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I agree that there is a lot of potential lost due to unequal opportunities (for example children with poor parents, versus children with rich parents) and peer pressure / gender stereotypes. I've studied physics and the 5% of female students consistently were well above average for example, which suggests that only a portion of the extremely talented females even considered studying physics.

I am not sure if an individual company can really do anything about the factors contributing to those inequal oportunities. I feel for many skills they come to late, the education system is really the place that should work to reduce the amount of wasted potential.

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I'm not suggesting that companies change the system, more that they look at the criteria they use for recruitment to see if there are ways they can better judge underlying potential that what grad school people went to.

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Curious to see granularity by job type - ie engineers vs sales.

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The official site breaks it down by tech/non-tech/leadership: http://www.google.com/diversity/at-google.html

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Interesting that non-tech is less male-dominated than tech, as expected, but even more white-dominated.

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Same white, just fewer Asians.

Nothing to see here, all stereotypes confirmed :)

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Speculation only: It's possible the non-white numbers are boosted by the development offices in Asia. They may employ large numbers of developers (who are likely to be 95% Asian), but lower numbers of managers compared to management-heavy offices like Mountain View.

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Not at all interesting- that's how it is most places I've seen. All the upper middle class white people who like the 'romance' of tech but don't want to do low status/high effort things like programming go straight into management.

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I'm going to guess that a huge majority of that 30% female workforce is in HR, marketing, and other non-engineering roles.

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That's one of the interesting things. Statistically HR has a similar gender ratio as engineering, only reversed -- 72% of all HR professionals are women (http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf).

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And where are the crowds crying out loud for diversity and bringing more men to HR?

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[deleted]

> 72.4% of Americans are White, yet 61% of Google employees are White. Technically Whites are under-represented.

> Women earn 18% of computer science degrees, yet 30% of Google employees are Women. Technically women are over-represented.

How come you use "Americans" as the universe of comparison in the first sentence and "CS degrees" in the second? I suspect that neither is the universe of comparison that Google is looking at -- particularly the latter, given that one of their approaches for addressing diversity is to support programs that are designed to expand the number of women and underrepresented minorities graduating in technical fields.

> Another 10 years of this diversity mania propaganda and we'll have the same quotas for Whites as the ones that were used against Jewish high achievers.

No one is talking about adopting quotas, except for the reflexively anti-diversity crowd.

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[deleted]

> Between the lines they are indeed hinting towards "soft quotas".

No, they're not. They're talking about increasing the number of qualified candidates in the recruiting pipeline. I've said it before in this thread and I'll repeat it here: Google wants to hire _as many qualified candidates as possible_. We've got a huge pile of money but not enough people!

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[deleted]

You should be sorry for having such a persecution complex. How you can read the original article as an attack on white people is astonishing.

It is beyond question (although I'm sure you question it) that white people are by far the most privileged group of people around today. To see yourself is a victim because of your race and gender is simply an excuse for whatever insecurities you might have.

Most people in this world are born with a tremendous handicap. You had an advantage* . If you still feel threatened, then I'm sorry for you.

( * You may have been disadvantaged in other ways, but by being white you do have an advantage, whether you like it or not.)

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> How you can read the original article as an attack on white people is astonishing.

He probably had that reaction because that's almost always the undertone in American discussions about diversity. It's never actually about reaching relative demographic parity.

Example: Google's charts show whites as slightly underrepresented compared to the working-age population at large and Asians as vastly overrepresented. Despite that, on their brand-new diversity-at-google page[1], what group do they choose to highlight? Asian Googler Network (AGN), under the banner "Connecting and advancing the Asian community at Google".

Interesting, huh?

I hate making comments like this, because it sounds like I'm resentful toward Asian people for their success. I'm not. I love it. Keep at it, guys and gals.

I'm simply pointing out the absurdity of the situation.

> It is beyond question (although I'm sure you question it) that white people are by far the most privileged group of people around today.

"Beyond question"? That's a quasi-religious thing to say. What about Asian-Americans? And what happens when you separate Jewish White Americans from non-Jewish White Americans? Do things change in your mind?

> You may have been disadvantaged in other ways, but by being white you do have an advantage, whether you like it or not.

It's complicated. In many ways, for a given income level, White American children do have it worse than American children of other ethnicities. One minor (but personal) example: They are the only children repeatedly and harshly conditioned to feel guilt and shame toward their ethnicity's success. That really messes you up as you're growing up.

Back to Google. According to your HN profile, you work there. What is the extent to which employees' lives at work are affected by Google's new-found focus on demographic diversity, and how has this cultural shift effected the company's output?

[1]: http://www.google.com/diversity/at-google.html

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> African Americans (12% of pop.) make up 80% of NBA players". I am pro-diversity and I have no problem with this. I don't want to change this that 80%. That 80% is based on their ability. Which just so happens to be gifted to people of their race. Good for them.

Thanks white person for explaining what black people are good at. Nope, no blatant racism here at all.

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Diversity programs are important because they uncover and fight discrimination, both explicit and more subtle.

A specific example: I once worked in a job where the team leader and hiring manager was looking at resumes, found one was female and put it aside saying "she'll just get pregnant and leave". That was an extremely explicit form of discrimination that a formal diversity program may have helped combat (eg: he may have said "oh she'll just get pregnant and leave but I have to interview her anyway to get diversity points").

Interestingly, his team was extremely uniform ethnically too, and after he was asked to leave it became much more diverse.

Edit: Oh, and to address your points about the success of Jews in the fashion industries and Blacks in the NFL: overrepresentation is not a problem except in the case of whites because of history. If it becomes a problem the other way, then yes, it should be dealt with then. It is very far from that point at the moment, though.

(White, Anglo-Saxon male here)

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[deleted]

Firstly, I'd appreciate it if you could tone down the personal insults and inflammatory language. Discrimination is inflammatory enough on its own. Thanks.

What does white-guilt mean, exactly?

I believe that economic gains made by whites at the expense of other races because of past racist policies reinforced by a historical power imbalance should not be reinforced.

I believe it is appropriate for active steps to be taken to make sure this power imbalance is not reinforced.

I do not believe this is a zero-sum game.

As if that makes it less racist. You know the story you just told me about the hiring manager throwing out a female's resume based on assumptions about her gender? You should re-read it. It applies to your views on white people.

I don't believe it does. I cannot see anything in my story or approach that excludes anyone based on colour, creed or religion. Instead it is explicitly about making sure people are included, not excluded.

To be clear, I think the story would have gone like this: Hirer sees white person's resume, says "oh, this person is white. They will probably drink too much coffee (not sure of a racist stereotype for whites). Damn, we'll have to interview them anyway because of diversity policy and they are qualified"

How does that make it racist?

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> What does white-guilt mean, exactly?

Many White people are socially conditioned from a young age to reflexively feel guilt and disgust toward the success of White people.

> I believe that economic gains made by whites at the expense of other races because of past racist policies reinforced by a historical power imbalance should not be reinforced.

If you want to try to accurately and fairly "unwind" historical sins (good luck), don't just target White people. And certainly don't pretend that modern White people are the only people who benefit from the those past sins.

Regarding White people in the tech industry, here's something for you to consider: White people in tech are over-proportionally Jewish. As you approach the top of the industry, Jewish people become more and more over-represented.

At the very top of the tech industry, I'd be stunned if fewer than 40-60% of people were Jewish.

Mark Zuckerberg?

Larry Page?

Sheryl Sandberg?

Sergey Brin?

Michael Dell?

All Jewish. A quick Google search reveals countless others (and frankly, good for them).

With these facts in mind, do you think we should push to recruit more non-Jewish White people in tech?

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do you think we should push to recruit more non-Jewish Whites in tech?

I don't think non-Jewish whites are discriminated against in hiring, but if promotion into management is a problem, then yes, management should reflect the population too.

I'd point out that it would appear there is less of a problem with discrimination against non-Jewish white men than against black females (for example), though.

I think prioritising is reasonable.

(I'd also note that in all those cases except Sheryl Sandberg they were founders, so hiring discrimination was a non-factor. I realise this wasn't your point though).

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You're focusing on hiring discrimination, but the article's focusing on spending money to increase "upstream" tech interest in under-represented groups. That's because hiring discrimination isn't really the issue; upstream interest (and thus upstream qualification) is.

If non-Jewish White people are underrepresented among successful tech founders, does that not represent an upstream issue?

-----


If non-Jewish White people are underrepresented among successful tech founders, does that not represent an upstream issue?

If that is the case, then yes.

But I suspect that even if you remove the white Jewish cohort from the white group then whites (and especially white males) would still be overrepresented amongst founders.

I don't see the overrepresentation of a minority group as a problem at all. Like you said: Good on them.

-----


> But I suspect that even if you remove the white Jewish cohort from the white group then whites (and especially white males) would still be overrepresented amongst founders.

If the demographic data for founders looks anything like the demographic data in the linked blog post, White people would be almost perfectly(!) proportionally represented, given the percentage of working-age Americans who are White. White men would indeed be over-represented, and Asian men would be the most over-represented of all.

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Yes. It is kind of like theater. You need to perform how progressive you are!

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Bringing up quotas is a complete non-sequitur. They didn't mention quotas or any form of favoritism towards minority candidates.

What they did mention is trying to improve the quality of CS education available to minorities. For instance, helping Howard, a predominately black college, improve its CS program.

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why is diversity good? forced diversity seems very contrived. why should the percentage of women hired be higher than the number that graduate from school with a CS degree?

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>why should the percentage of women hired be higher than the number that graduate from school with a CS degree?

No one is implying that it should. From the blog they seem to be working on improving the latter number too.

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>>why is diversity good?

I want there to be more women whom I can date.

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Google needs to hire a few older people who know about the Mcarthy Era, and how Nazis used personal information against family members? And yes, Duckduckgo is getting better each month. My love affair with Google is long over. She taped everything I said, and will not stop stalking me.

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When I worked there I thought they did a reasonably good job on gender, religion, and sexual orientation but there were not enough older engineers there. I wonder what the actual numbers are for that.

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Burnout maybe? How long is the average work week?

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This is a near-dupe of the discussion of this PBS article, which has more data, including the tech vs non-tech breakdown:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/google-discloses-workfor...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7813310

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It appears the prior story on this topic got blasted off the front page [1] for whatever reason. Here's what I had to say over there [2].

1: http://hnrankings.info/7813310/

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7813811

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I wonder how many of those minorities are working the low ends at Google...the details of course didn't say. Also, they stopped short of saying it's the perception and blame the facts on 'statistics'. I'm sure they have no problems hiring cooks, janitors, etc who are minorities.

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Hispanics mentioned 4 times in this thread as of 10:23pm MST. Asian's mentioned 18 times...

Everyone talks Black (27 mentions) and White (82 mentions).... meanwhile Hispanic and Asian ethic groups race higher and higher in total number. [1] In raw numbers, Hispanics are growing far faster than any ethnic group in the US. Companies in this game for the long haul had better recognize that Hispanics will be the dominant ethnic group in relatively short order.[2]

But who are the Hispanics? Better figure it out. It matters now and will increasingly matter much more going forward.

[1] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population... [2]http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/fast-growth-latino-...

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I'd be really curious to see the gender/ethnic breakdown of just the Google software engineers. As it stands it's hard to make a meaningful comparison between Google and the overall US population of CS majors.

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They don't have the software engineers specifically, but they have the breakdown of the "Tech" people http://www.google.com/diversity/at-google.html#tab=tech

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The "Tech" stats at the PBS article are just that:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/google-discloses-workfor...

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Exactly, it feels like they are artificially boosting the figures here because when people look at Google stats they think tech anyway. The Tech only figures are much more male-skewed.

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I think that the author doesn't know the difference between race and ethnicity.

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"But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be"

Who is "we"? And why do they want to be somewhere else?

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> Who is "we"?

Google.

> And why do they want to be somewhere else?

Among other reasons, because Google is employee-constrained (they have plenty of money and plenty of things they'd like to do, but have trouble hiring enough workers that meet their qualification standards to be able to effectively apply the money they have to the opportunities they would like to pursue), and the lack of the diversity in their workforce, mirroring the lack of diversity in their qualified candidate pool -- given the absence of evidence that there are inherent reasons for that lack of diversity -- indicates that improving social barriers that constrain their qualified candidate pool is likely to be an effective way of making more of the people who are innately capable of being Googlers actually able to become qualified to be Googlers, allowing Google to hire more qualified people, allowing Google to more effectively pursue the wide range of opportunities they would like to pursue.

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If Google achieves a 51% Female 49% Male ratio, is this good? Supporters of forced diversity are implying it is, but why?

If there is something gained by having gender X, then you are saying that genders are not equal. If there is no difference, then why are we doing this? Why are we basing employment on gender anyway?

I'd like to see stats regarding people looking for work who are successful and those that are not. If a woman wants to stay at home, can we not accept her choice? If a man wants to stay at home while the woman is breadwinner, is this not okay too?

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Please do show me these strawmen supporters of forced diversity.

> then you are saying that genders are not equal No, you're saying that their life experience is not equal. There's no inequality in terms of ability, but in terms of what you know.

> I'd like to see stats regarding people looking for work who are successful

Closest proxy I can find is a study of success rate for MBAs by gender.[1] No surprise whatsoever, women experience lower salaries and career satisfaction. Also, women have less upward mobility into management positions.

> If a woman wants to stay at home, can we not accept her choice? The issue is not wanting to stay at home.

> If a man wants to stay at home while the woman is breadwinner, is this not okay too?

Of course it is. To make that possible, we need to close the salary gap and address glass ceiling issues.

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/29182...

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[deleted]

Your statement is misleading, and I suspect intentionally so. Google is, reasonably, talking about blacks and Hispanics earning CS degrees.

You're changing the subject to broaden the topic to degrees in S&E -- that is, social sciences, psychology and behaviorial science, medical science, biological sciences, earth science and geology, atmospheric science, ocean science, etc. Few of those degrees lead themselves to careers in software engineering; Google isn't known to hire irrigation management or crop specialists to work on new search products.* That's why it makes more sense to talk about CS degrees specifically.

[* Yes, of course software engineers can come from any field, and we all know the self-taught high school dropout who can outprogram a Stanford CS PhD. But those are the exception, not the rule.]

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> That's 30,580 blacks and hispanics[1].

For all degrees qualifying as science and engineering. If only 5% of those are in computer science that's only 1,529 people. There are a lot of companies vying for those 1,529 people. Let's also not forget that not all of those 1,529 graduates will actually be capable of qualifying for a job at Google further reducing the quantity.

I'm not surprised at all by Google's numbers having actually seen their hiring process from the HR side as well as that of dozens of other companies in technology and other industries.

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Not everyone Google hires is straight out of school.

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