Prominent civil rights leader Jesse Jackson reminded Google Inc. at its annual stockholders’ meeting that it needs to keep working hard to make its company more diverse.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt asked Jackson, who has been vocal about wanting to see a more diverse Silicon Valley, to ask the first question during the Q&A portion of the meeting. He had spoken at the shareholders meeting last year asking for the company to diversify.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Jackson, who noted he’s not convinced the government can solve this problem. “You’ve challenged the old model of exclusive. I will continue to push Google and the rest of Silicon Valley to look like America.”
Jackson said the tech industry can’t look like a snow-capped mountain; white on the top, black and brown on the bottom.
In early May, Jackson also became involved in another tech labor issue. He, the SEIU-USWW and South Bay Labor Council took to Broadcom Corp. in Santa Clara to protest the firing of one private security guard and to organize workers.
Google released its latest diversity numbers this week. The numbers remain mostly static from the numbers released last year. The company is still 70 percent male and 60 percent white overall, and the company acknowledged it has much work ahead in improving these statistics. Google did say it’s pledging $150 million to attract more female and minority employees this year.
David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, said diversity is incredibly important from a human rights standpoint, but that it’s also an incredibly important business issue.
“We released the numbers last year, and quite frankly, they didn’t show a big movement (this year),” he said.
Drummond did say that moving percentage points takes a lot when you employ 50,000 people like Google does.
Written by Angela Swartz