Google Has a $150 Million Problem: A Lack of Diversity

woman_burying_her_head_in_her_hands-130061-edited$150 million dollars – that’s how much Google is willing to invest in a new initiative aimed at diversifying its current workforce. Primarily made up of white males, the technology superpower is doing what so many organizations are quick to brush under the rug: admit they have a diversity problem. 

We’ve reported on talent acquisition strategies recently, but if this latest move by the $364.99 billion dollar gorilla in the room (let’s be real, the world) isn’t an indicator of how seriously employers need to look at diversification in the workforce, I’m not sure any number of analogies will properly paint the picture. So, here it is in plain English: the war on talent has been waged.

And, it’s not just happening in the IT space. The Society for Human Resource Management revealed a study that indicated the top 3 challenges HR executives will face through 2020. Number one on the list: retaining and rewarding the best employees. Business as usual is out. Mixing up how and who companies hire is quickly dominating conversations everywhere from job boards to the board room.  

In the USA Today interview with Google’s vice president of people operations, Nancy Lee, she provides some interesting context around the decision to go all in on diversity. To start, the market leader wants to set a new tone in the technology industry. The message: let’s close the gender and racial gap. Next, and most significant, Lee identifies that Google serves a global audience. With a more diverse workplace, comes a more innovative and relatable line of products and services.

Not to be outdone, other major market players are investing in similar initiatives:

  • Intel set aside $300 million for diversity efforts over the next five years, or about $60 million a year
  • Apple pledged $50 million to non-profits to show it bears a softer side

While Google’s strategy is certainly long-term (and, we hope so with that kind of budget), it hopes to tap into the minds of some of its most under representative workforce population; women and minorities. In an industry known for hiring the “same” type of employee, Google not only needs to cast a wider net, but welcome a diverse workforce with open arms.

So, how does this apply to the masses? What we can all take away from the Google diversity publicity stunt is just that: it’s a clear and calculated move to address a bigger problem. While the tech industry as a whole may shy away from topic of diversity, in a very Google-like fashion, the company is tackling the issue head-on.

Google may have just done what it does best -- fundamentally shift our behavior. Remember when it was passable for a business to not have a Facebook page? Now, social media marketing dominates the recruiting space. By putting diversity at the forefront of the conversation, Google is influencing more enterprises to do the same. 

In a move this bold and a topic as sensitive as diversity, we may be at the early adoption of real diversity advocacy. Think about it. When the ACA, or Obamacare was implemented, companies who opposed the distribution of free birth control were quickly scrutinized by the public. As society pushes the envelope on what is open for discussion, businesses will need to take a step in a unfamiliar direction; identify whose side they are really on. 


About the Author: This blog was written by Alexandra Calukovic-Deck, aka the Marketing Guru, a digitally-driven marketer. Claims to fame include the longest possible last name ever, certifications in Strategic & Inbound Marketing practices, and lover of all things Philadelphia.

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