Something is missing from diversity statistics posted online this week by Google – information about the age of its workforce.
Google posted statistics showing a workforce that is (surprise!) incredibly non-diverse in gender and race. Google’s workforce is 70 percent male and 30 percent female. And Google’s workforce is 61 percent white and 30 percent Asian. Only three percent of Google’s workforce are Hispanic, two percent are African-American and four percent are described as “two or more races.”
The numbers apparently were compiled as part of a report that major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC report collects information about sex and race. Companies are not required to make the information public.
Google chose to publicly divulge the damning figures about its overwhelmingly white male workforce, but did not reveal the ages of its employees. Isn’t that a statistic that Google deems important in terms of measuring a diverse workforce? Just how many workers at Google are over the age of 40, the age at which workers fall under the protection of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
One can only speculate why Google has ignored age in its discussion of diversity. Possibly the numbers are drastically askew and Google fears an age discrimination lawsuit. It’s not exactly a secret that Silicon Valley generally and Google, in particular, celebrate a youth culture.
A few years ago, Google settled a lawsuit alleging age discrimination by Brian Reid, who was hired by Google in a senior tech role when he was age 54 . Reid left after two years when he was re-assigned to head up a new program with no staff that was quickly phased out.. Reid said supervisors and co-workers at Google made derogatory comments about his age, stating that he was not a “cultural fit” for the company, that he was “an old man,” “slow,” “sluggish,” “lethargic” and “an old fuddy-duddy” who “lacked energy.” Co-workers allegedly joked that Reid’s CD (compact disc) jewel case office placard should be an “LP” (which stands for long-playing record). The lawsuit was reportedly settled after the California Court of Appeals said Reid had presented undisputed evidence supported a prima facie case of age discrimination.
According to a story in the New Republic, age thirty is over-the-hill in Silicon Valley, where “[t]ech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don’t think twice about deriding the not-actually-old.”
The diversity statistics provided by Google are even worse than they first appear. Of the 30 percent of Google’s workforce who are female, only about 18 percent work in professional tech jobs. Only one percent of blacks and two percent of Hispanics who work at Google work in prize tech jobs.
Of the company’s “leadership” team, 79 percent are male and 21 percent are female; 72 percent are white; 23 percent are Asian; two percent are black; 1.5 percent are identified as “two or more races” and one percent are Hispanic.