Earlier today, we released our latest workforce demographic numbers on our Global Diversity & Inclusion website. I encourage anyone with an interest in diversity at Microsoft – as well as anyone interested in diversity within the tech industry as a whole – to visit this website and familiarize themselves with our latest information.
As I look at our numbers, I see a story that to some degree is being repeated throughout the industry. While certain leading indicators are trending up and we are starting to see signs of progress, systemic challenges remain when it comes to increasing the presence of women and minorities at all levels of the workforce. The implications are clear: we need to build on the areas where there is some early momentum, address areas where we’re not yet seeing real progress, and above all, remain focused on the importance of increasing diversity and building a more inclusive culture at Microsoft.
Here are some examples of what the data show:
Racial and ethnic minority representation:
- In the U.S., Microsoft saw modest year-over-year increases in nearly all racial and ethnic categories, including African-American/Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino(a), and Multi-Racial representation. In two areas, American Indian/Native American and Pacific Islander, our percentages were flat.
- The percentage of women on our Senior Leadership Team is now at 27.2 percent, the highest it has ever been.
- Our Board of Directors is more diverse than ever, with three female members out of 11 total (pending shareholder approval in December), compared to two of 10 a year ago.
- Pending shareholder approval in December, women and ethnic minorities will hold five of our 11 board positions.
- The number of African-American/Black corporate vice presidents more than doubled this year, increasing from 1.3 percent to 2.9 percent.
- When combining African-American/Blacks with Hispanic/Latino(a) executives who have joined the ranks of corporate vice president, that year-over-year number increases from 4.5 percent to 6.4 percent.
Recruitment of women and minorities from universities:
- Worldwide, 30.6 percent of all university hires coming into Microsoft are women, up from 27.7 percent the previous year. This is encouraging as we think about our future.
- The number of women being hired into technical/engineering roles from universities worldwide has increased to 26.1 percent, up from 23.7 percent the previous year.
- In the U.S., the percentage of African-American/Black hires from universities coming into technical roles increased to 3.3 percent compared to 2.5 percent the prior year.
- In the U.S., the percentage of Hispanic/Latino(a) hires from universities coming into technical roles was 5.1 percent compared to 4.9 percent the previous year.
- The number of female interns worldwide at Microsoft is also increasing steadily, up to 31.8 percent this year compared to 28.0 percent last year.
If current trends hold, we expect to see a continuation of growth in all these areas as we move through our fiscal year (which ends on June 30, 2016) and into the first quarter of FY17.
We believe this upward trajectory – particularly as it relates to university hires – is partially due to the investments we have made in the past several years though programs like DigiGirlz, TEALS and
It is also the result of greater awareness in general of the value and importance of diverse talent to the company as a key driver of innovation. To address what many refer to as “the pipeline problem,” we are focused on all stages of the pipeline. We and many of our peer companies are doing that, and we’re starting to see results – definitely not as quickly as we would like, but we’re starting to move in the right direction.
Overall percentage of women at Microsoft:
Despite these encouraging signs, we recognize that not everything is positive. One area of our workforce representation that bears a specific note is that this year – primarily due to the restructuring of our phone hardware business – we experienced an overall decline in the percentage of women working at Microsoft worldwide, from 29 percent (Sept. 30, 2014) to 26.8 percent (Sept. 30, 2015).
The workforce reductions resulting from the restructure of our phone hardware business (Sharpening Our Focus) impacted factory and production facilities outside the U.S. that produce handsets and hardware, and a higher percentage of those jobs were held by women. This was the main cause of the decline in female representation at Microsoft. In short, a strategic business decision made in the longer-term interests of the company resulted in a reduction of jobs held by female employees outside the U.S.
Even with this explanation, I want to emphasize that we are not satisfied with where we are today regarding the percentage of women in our workforce. Our senior leaders continue to be deeply committed to doing everything possible to improve these numbers.
Our future path:
Taken as whole, I would characterize our efforts to improve workforce representation as showing signs of promise, with much more committed work still to do. In a company the size of Microsoft, making dramatic changes in terms of our overall workforce composition is an undertaking that cannot be over-stated. Our cultural transformation will not take place overnight. It will take steadfast commitment, accountability, targeted actions – and time.
Diversity and inclusion are critical underpinnings to our evolving culture at Microsoft and powerful bridges to the marketplace. They can be determining factors in whether or not talented people come to work for us, and whether people buy our products. We have much work to do to increase the pipeline of diverse talent, increase retention and match talent to job opportunities – and it is in our industry’s interest to be transparent about the current state and get on with the solutions. Along with our peers, we need to continue working together to land thoughtful, enduring and practical diversity and inclusion initiatives that transform our workforce for the benefit of the industry, our employees and our customers.