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Google Faces Backlash as Diversity Programs See Significant Cuts Despite Earlier Commitments

Google Faces Backlash as Diversity Programs See Significant Cuts Despite Earlier Commitments
Google Faces Backlash | Diversity Programs see Cuts


Google’s Diversity Backlash: Criticism as Google cuts diversity programs despite promises in 2020.

Budget Constraints Impact Initiatives: No new hires and layoffs in underrepresented talent programs due to budget constraints.

Compensation Controversy: Apprenticeships participants express concerns about lower pay compared to full-time engineers.

Role Reductions: Google cuts roles managing partnerships and recruiting for underrepresented groups.

Industry Trend: Google’s move aligns with a 44% decline in diversity-related tech job postings.

Company Response: Google asserts dedication to diversity despite reported cutbacks.

AI Development Concerns: Experts warn of deeper industry inequities, especially in AI development.

Workforce Impact: Questions arise about the impact on Google’s workforce and tech development.

Industry-Wide Impact: Meta and others make similar cuts, contributing to a broader decline in diversity investments.

In the aftermath of nationwide protests against racial injustice in 2020, Google pledged substantial commitments to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, recent reports from CNBC reveal that the tech giant has made significant cuts to many of these programs, raising concerns about the company’s commitment to its earlier promises.

Reversal of Diversity Initiatives

Google, under the leadership of CEO Sundar Pichai, had announced ambitious goals, including increasing underrepresented groups in leadership roles and doubling Black representation in non-senior positions by 2025. Despite these promises, the company has backtracked on key diversity programs in 2023 due to budget constraints.

Program Cutbacks

One notable cutback is the decision not to hire a new cohort for the Early Career Immersion program, aimed at underrepresented software engineering talent. Some staff supporting this initiative also faced layoffs. Additionally, participants in Google’s Apprenticeships program raised concerns over lower pay compared to their counterparts, contributing to Google’s codebase while earning half of what full-time software engineers make.

Reduction in Learning Programs and Partnerships

Google also cut roles managing partnerships and recruiting for underrepresented groups, along with a reduction in learning programs focused on fostering inclusion. Layoffs reportedly included leaders from employee resource groups dedicated to racial diversity.

Broader Industry Trends

The reduction in Google’s diversity commitments aligns with a broader decline in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) investments across the tech sector in 2023. According to Indeed data, diversity-related job postings in the industry have dropped by 44% year-over-year. Other tech giants, such as Meta, have similarly made cuts.

Company Response

While Google did not dispute the details of the cuts when approached by CNBC, a company spokesperson emphasized Google’s ongoing dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Concerns Over AI Development

Experts argue that the retreat from diversity commitments comes at a critical juncture, particularly with the growing influence of artificial intelligence (AI). The lack of diverse talent in AI development raises concerns about perpetuating deeper inequities in the tech industry for both employees and consumers.

Google’s decision to scale back on diversity programs raises questions about the tech giant’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace. As the industry faces increased scrutiny over equity practices, Google’s actions highlight the challenges and contradictions within the broader tech landscape. The impact of these cutbacks on both the company’s workforce and the development of emerging technologies like AI remains a focal point of concern.

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