The tech giant said the transparency about its workforce is an important step toward change.
“Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google Inc. senior vice president Laszlo Bock wrote in a blog.
The numbers were compiled as part of a report major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Companies are not required to make the information public.
The gender divide is based on the about 44,000 people Google employed throughout the world at the start of this year. The company didn’t factor about 4,000 workers at its Motorola Mobility division, which is being sold to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion. The data is limited to Google’s roughly 26,600 workers in the U.S., as of August 2013.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first.
Apple Inc., Twitter and Microsoft Corp. did not respond immediately to queries about possible plans to disclose data.
Hewlett-Packard spokesman Michael Thacker said the firm, with 331,800 worldwide employees, has been publishing this data going back to 2001 as part of a Global Citizenship Report. In their most recent report, almost 7 percent of their U.S. workforce was African-American, 6 percent Hispanic and 33 percent were women.
Bock said Google has been working to diversify not just in its offices, but also in the broader tech sector. Since 2010, the firm has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.
The company also is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science, he said.
“But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” he said.
Gender and ethnic disparities are reflected throughout the tech industry. About 7 percent of tech workers are or Latino in Silicon Valley and nationally. African-American and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.
In the coming months, Google said, it will work with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group using information technology to close gender and ethnic gaps in the Silicon Valley workforce. The center will be organizing a Google-backed conference in California, focusing on issues of technology and diversity.
Co-founder Freada Kapor Klein, who started the Level Playing Field Institute 13 years ago to teach and mentor and Latino students in science and math, said Google is showing leadership “which has been sorely needed for a long time.”