Google is vast and unknowable, shrouded in Silicon Valley’s plasticine corporate fog, yet intensely personal, waiting for us from the moment we open our laptops and phones. It’s this combination of extremes which can cause ordinary users to sometimes forget that Google is more than an endless field of server racks and a spinning beachball on our computer screens: it is comprised of people.
Google recently pulled back the curtain on that workforce, releasing a demographic breakdown of its U.S. employees with data from 2015. The results were stunning, and perhaps frustratingly predictable, depicting a workforce overwhelmingly white and male. In fact, just 2% of Google employees in the United States were Black—a figure that dropped to a single percentage point when filtered for those working solely on the technical side of the company.
That Silicon Valley struggles with diversity and minority representation is nothing new. And Google, as an industry leader, has taken significant strides in that respect, even instituting the Black Googler Network, a team of Black Google employees who spend 20% of their time focusing on issues of diversity and inclusion.
For those committed to expanding diversity in the tech sector, hearing the voices of those who know what it’s like to be in the minority at a place like Google is a good place to start. A number of Black employees took to question-and-answer site Quora to share their personal stories.