High tech giants like Intel and Cisco may claim to be ethnically diverse, but the numbers tell a different story. Professor James Lai, Ph.D., Director of the Ethnic Studies program at Santa Clara University, says that many of the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley report that half their staff are Asian Americans. In fact, he says, they are only half correct. They are Asian, but foreign workers are included in the number, meaning that they are not American.
Even then, the numbers are skewed so that they inadequately represent the Bay Area’s population, which is 20 percent Asian American. Meanwhile, African Americans make up just 3 percent of these companies’ workforces (they are 7 percent of the state’s population), while Latinos, who account for 38 percent of the state’s population, make up just 4 percent of these companies’ workforces. The numbers may be different at Google, but that is impossible to tell, because the company refused to release a breakdown of its employees by race and ethnicity.
Google says that, “A diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures means better products for our users,” and went on to say that its work environment was “inclusive” and “diverse.” That was not enough for three non-profit groups representing minorities throughout California. They held a rally outside Google on Thursday, asking them to release figures about the ethnic background of their staffs.
Google and other major companies are, however, making a concerted effort to be more inclusive in their hiring policies. Many employ the services of Metricstream of Palo Alto to help identify minority candidates for new positions. What remains to be seen is whether the protesters yesterday would like to see a quota system instituted as well.