Google snaps up former Intel diversity head to lead its charge

30 Jun 2017


Google’s demographics are nowhere near where the company wants them to be, so it’s hoping Danielle Brown can sort it out.

Google’s workforce is 69pc male, a position of dominance that is declining at a very slow rate. Women in technology roles at Google represent just 20pc, inching up by around 1pc each year.

The company’s black non-tech workforce is just 5pc, again increasing by 1pc per year. The Hispanic staff count is up between 1pc and 4pc in the past 12 months.

The figures are shifting, but the wait will be long.

That’s why Google has plumped for Danielle Brown, former VP and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Intel.

Announced yesterday (29 June), Google wants Brown “to push our work forward” after it released another tranche of diversity statistics.

At Google, Brown will be responsible for managing the company’s diversity and inclusion strategy, partnering with its senior executives to achieve a better range of employees.

“While we’ve made progress in recent years for both women and people of colour, there are areas for improvement across the board; in terms of our hiring, our promotion and retention, our commitments, our working environment, and how we measure success or failure,” said Eileen Naughton, VP of people operations at Google.

“Danielle will look at our efforts in all these areas afresh and I’m excited to work with her.”

One of the many areas Brown will tackle, presumably, is the racial make-up of Google’s workforce. At just 1pc, the number of black employees in technical roles is a sore point for the company.

“We recently launched Howard West, a three-month engineering residency on our campus for Howard University computer science majors,” said Naughton.

“Our Google in Residence initiative, which embeds Google engineers at historically black colleges and universities, is continuing into its sixth year this fall.”

Google is hardly alone in attempting to address this issue, with gender diversity, in particular, a focus across the board.

Accenture, for example, is committing to a completely gender-balanced workforce by 2025. Its second goal is to have 25pc women managing directors by 2020, just three years away.

The former target is more achievable for Accenture, given that it already has a 60:40 split between male and female employees at present.

Elsewhere, PayPal and eBay have workforces that are made up of 44pc and 43pc of women, respectively. Microsoft is trailing behind, with just 26pc of its total workforce made up of women, according to figures from earlier this year.


Infographic: Statista

The tech sector within these companies are mostly lacking in diversity. PayPal and eBay are once again leading on that front, with almost a quarter of their tech roles filled by women.

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have the lowest percentage of women in tech roles, with just 15pc and 17pc, respectively.

Microsoft has the lowest number of women across the board. Along with men making up almost three-quarters of its total workforce, fewer than one in five tech/leadership roles are filled by women.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic