Alphabet is echoing Google's move to boost employee equity and inclusion by hiring diversity leads across its 'bet' companies like Waymo, DeepMind, and Verily

By Hugh Langley

In June, Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a set of commitments to improve diversity and equity across the company, which included promises to boost underrepresented groups in leadership roles and address problems in hiring and retention.

Nothing was said on how much would apply to other "bet" companies, many of which operate largely independent of the Google mothership, but LinkedIn data reveals that many of them have been on a hiring spree to appoint new diversity leaders.

Business Insider spotted that self-driving car company Waymo and AI research body DeepMind have both posted advertisements for diversity and inclusion leads in the last few weeks.

Verily, one of Alphabet's life sciences companies, has also recently been on the hunt for a diversity strategy and program lead.

In June, a Google senior recruitment specialist moved over to Loon with the new title of 'Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager,' according to LinkedIn data. Around the same time, Alphabet moonshot division X  moved its 'Head of EID talent acquisition' into a new diversity lead position, as announced by X "captain" Astro Teller in a blog post.

Google publishes data on its diversity figures each year. Its 2020 report reflected incremental progress, with women representing only 32% of the workforce (up from 31.6% a year before) and the number of black employees making up 3.7% of its 100,00-plus employees – up from 3.3% the year prior.

However, these reports don't include data for the other "bets," which are largely treated and run like individual companies.

But the run of new diversity leads across these Alphabet companies reflect how these problems don't stop at Google.

Earlier this year, Alphabet's life science company Verily made a controversial move to suspend employee spot bonuses and redirect the money into diversity programs instead. 

The decision led to backlash from employees, some of which co-signed a letter to management asking why the diversity programs weren't being invested "in their own right."

"Given the differences in maturity and biz development that each Bet is at, no one Bet is alike in their equity, inclusion, diversity (EID) journey," said Salima Bhimani, chief equity and inclusion strategist for Alphabet's other bets, in an emailed statement to Business Insider.

"Part of our work together over the last 3 years has been for the Bets to engage in thoughtful dialogue about how to do EID work and for them to lay the foundations for EID in their orgs."

She added that "many established EID roles and teams early on, while others are now at the stage of their foundation build, where they are ready for EID leads, who will not come in starting from scratch."