Intel's Advancing But Diversity Goals Still Tough for Tech Industry
Most of the big U.S. technology companies have gotten the memo on the importance of workplace diversity. Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have all begun issuing annual diversity reports to publicize their efforts to bring more women and under-represented minorities into their organizations. But so far, all of them have refused to make public their diversity goals. Except for Intel.
With its 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Report, the semiconductor manufacturer announced that it had challenged itself to make 40 percent of last year’s new hires either women or members of under-represented minority groups. The company exceeded its goal, reaching 43 percent diverse hiring, along with 100 percent gender pay parity across all US jobs types and levels.
The company’s decision to publicize its transparency goals is a direct challenge to other tech companies that have so far demurred when it comes to setting public targets. "While our workforce representation goals are just one part of the comprehensive, multi-year strategy we embarked on in early 2015, we firmly believe in transparency and sharing our progress on this front," Intel wrote in the report. "It keeps us accountable and encourages others to be equally transparent."
Intel’s goals for last year are part of a multi-year goal of reaching fully proportional representation of both women and minorities at its workplace by 2020, an ambitious goal to which the company has committed $300 million. Last year’s efforts resulted in a 1.8 times increase in such hires over 2014.
This year, the company plans to push itself even further, with a new goal of making 45 percent of its new hires either women or minorities. That may be aggressive, but Intel will have to keep up the pace if it wants to meet its 2020 goals, particularly when it comes to minority hiring.
Still A Long Way To Go
Sadly, this is where the company made the least amount of progress last year. Under-represented minorities made up 12.4 percent of all hires last year, an improvement of just 0.1 percent from the year before. Intel will need to step up its game if it wants to reach its 2016 goal of 14 percent hires from the minority population.
In fact, when it came to early grade positions, Intel actually lost ground last year among African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, all of which lost ground from the year before. However, the regression was alleviated somewhat by the slight increases in mid- and senior-grade and leadership hires among all minorities.
Those slight increases may be too slight, though. As much of an effort as it is making to increase the diversity of its workforce, Intel has admitted that it has had difficulty retaining many minority employees, potentially out of frustration at the lack of opportunities to advance to higher levels. According to Intel’s own numbers, African Americans make up only 2.27 percent of leadership positions.
At least by publicizing its goals, Intel has taken a big first step in the right direction.