Intel report puts spotlight on diversity at work

Intel report puts spotlight on diversity at work

A new report from Intel on its efforts to increase diversity at work is noteworthy for its transparency. Will it spark industry change? Also: Yahoo struggling to keep employees; wearables’ upward trend.

Diversity in the technology field has been an issue of contention for years. With major tech companies finally devoting more attention to the gender and minority gap in the workplace, is this the start of a more inclusive technology culture?

Intel’s annual diversity report, released this week, shows some progress, but there’s still a long way to go.

According to the report, 43.1% of new Intel hires in 2015 were women or minorities; women comprised 17.6% of leadership roles, a 14.3% increase from 2014. Intel also announced that it closed the pay gap between U.S. men and women who work at the same job-grade level. The results exceeded the workforce diversity goals it set for 2015, said Intel, which spent $52.4 million on the initiatives.

That’s the good news. As the report notes, men still account for 75.2% of U.S. Intel employees and white people still account for 53.3%. The numbers are generally on par with workforce diversity numbers from other tech giants like Microsoft and Google.

While the diversity statistics may not be cause for huge celebration, tech experts are hailing Intel’s level of commitment and transparency as a possible game changer in the hiring practices at tech companies. Intel is the only tech giant to have publicly set quantifiable diversity, hiring or retention goals, according to NPR.

“There’s nothing here [that’s] top secret or should not be shared with the rest of the world, in my mind,” said CEO Brian Krzanich, who added that he hopes this transparency will spur competing technology companies to follow suit in order to prove their commitment to diversity.

Claire Hough, VP of Engineering at Udemy, believes Intel’s transparency to be an important step toward solving the larger problem of diversity at work.

“Intel is driving a much-needed conversation in the tech industry and leading the charge,” Hough said. “I totally applaud Intel’s report for its transparency, heightened awareness and honest introspection.”

She added, “When a report like this is openly discussed by the CEO, it is powerful. This report challenges tech leaders to set diversity goals, experiment with different ways to solve the problem and share their learnings, so we can tackle these problems faster as an industry.”

Diversity at work changes decision making

Increasing diversity at work is about more than meeting certain numerical goals; it’s about taking advantage of all that diverse work environments have to offer, according to J. Colin Petersen, President and CEO at service provider J – I.T. Outsource.

“Diverse people approach problem solving in diverse ways,” said Petersen. “When that diversity also comes from a population that struggles socially/economically, the standouts and achievers really have unique problem-solving abilities, work ethics and life skills that more homogenous workforces just don’t have.”

Jessica Mah, CEO of accounting startup inDinero, agrees. “If you are an IT executive and you don’t care about diversity, I think you are doing your business a disservice by missing the cultural strengths a diverse workforce can provide,” Mah said. “It’s similar to the small-town kid going to college in the big city – their head explodes when they find out all of the other new and diverse people, with different customs and approaches to life and work.”

InDinero made a focused effort to increase diversity at work and “hit the mark,” according to Mah, by hiring more than 50% women in 2015. But even at a startup in a field such as accounting, it wasn’t easy, Mah says.

“You have to constantly try to build a pipeline full of diverse talent and provide hiring managers with a wide range of talented candidates; it’s not always the most simple route,” Mah said.


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