Strengthening our culture of inclusion

Three years ago, we began a journey to evolve our culture at Microsoft, and in so doing redefine our relationship with employees, customer and partners. This journey started by grounding our aspire-to culture in a growth mindset focused on three attributes:

  • Obsessing over our customers;
  • Operating as a unified company (One Microsoft); and
  • Becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization.

We recognized then, as we do today, that our culture is critical to attracting and retaining talent, enabling our strategy and achieving results for our shareholders. It is also critical to our success as an employer with a sense of purpose and mission to make a difference in the world. To achieve our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, we know we need to be unwavering in our efforts to build a diverse and inclusive organization. While we define diversity broadly, with intentional action plans to support all dimensions, our data today reflect specific areas in  need of progress across the tech industry.  We also know that for our employees to realize their full potential, each and every person needs to feel like they belong – and be able to contribute with their full and authentic selves.

Photo of Kathleen Hogan
Kathleen Hogan, Chief People Officer at Microsoft

Today, we are releasing our annual workforce demographic numbers, which is just one milestone along our path toward building a more inclusive culture. You can get a comprehensive look at our most current information (through Sept. 30, 2017) on this site.  LinkedIn, which Microsoft acquired late last year, is also sharing diversity demographics today and they can be accessed here. (As you will see below, I am also sharing combined percentages for Microsoft and LinkedIn in a couple of key categories.)

The top-line: Based on intentional efforts, we are starting to make important progress when it comes to attracting and retaining women and minorities to work at the company, and we are also making progress in expanding talent across roles within the company. That said, we are not content, and we know there is much more we can and will do.


Combined demographics at Microsoft, including LinkedIn:

Given that it has been 11 months since we finalized our acquisition of LinkedIn, we are providing a combined summary view of two key diversity demographics: women globally; and racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S.  It is important to note here that LinkedIn’s leadership and commitment to Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) progress is equal to that of Microsoft’s, and is a strategic business priority for both companies.

As of Sept. 30, 2017, women represent 27.3 percent of Microsoft’s and LinkedIn’s combined global workforce. This compares to Microsoft’s number alone last year of 25.8 percent. The addition of LinkedIn’s workforce served to increase female representation overall.

In the U.S., our combined representation of African-American/black employees is 3.9 percent. Representation of Hispanic/Latin employees is 5.6 percent. These compare to last year’s numbers for Microsoft alone of 3.7 percent and 5.5 percent respectively. In these categories, before the combination of the two companies, Microsoft’s representation was slightly higher than LinkedIn’s representation.


Women at Microsoft:

Outside of the LinkedIn acquisition, the percentage of women employed at Microsoft globally is 25.9 percent, a slight increase from 25.8 percent last year. Excluding the phone manufacturing business wind-down where female representation was higher than our average, female representation in our global workforce increased by 0.9 percent, reflecting much of the emphasis and work we’ve placed on diversity and inclusion.

Underneath that top number, we are seeing important progress in some key areas. We continue to see growth in the representation of women being hired into Microsoft across all levels, as well as the following key indicators:

  • The percentage of women in technical roles increased from 17.5 to 19.0 percent;
  • The percentage of women in leadership positions at the company increased from 17.9 to 19.1 percent.

Racial and ethnic minorities at Microsoft:

Over the past year, we also saw increases in the representation of African-American/black (from 3.7 to 4.0 percent) and Hispanic/Latinx (from 5.5 to 5.9 percent) employees at Microsoft in the U.SWe are also seeing slight increases in representation for leadership and technical roles. Specifically:

  • The percentage of African-American/black employees in technical roles increased from 2.4 to 2.7 percent.
  • The percentage of African-American/black employees in leadership roles increased from 2.1 to 2.2 percent.
  • The percentage of Hispanic/Latinx employees in technical roles increased from 4 to 4.3 percent.
  • The percentage of Hispanic/Latinx employees in leadership roles increased from 4 to 4.3 percent.

Board of directors representation:

Our board of directors continues to be among the most diverse of any company in technology today, with women and ethnic minorities nominated on this year’s proxy representing six of our 14 positions.

Our philosophy and approach

While today we are sharing certain information about our workforce, we know that diversity and inclusion are so much more than gender and race demographics. It is about different cultures, religions, ages, political affiliations, education and sexual orientations, just to name a few. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels included and valued. Fostering this sense of inclusion and community will, in turn, create an environment that can help us fulfill our company mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. This is an ambitious goal, but one we are very much committed to achieving.

To accelerate our progress, we have an end-to-end global D&I strategy comprised of five core pillars, with support from our CEO and senior leadership team. Below are examples of what we are doing to improve in each area. We share this today as we continue to learn from our own efforts, from what other companies are doing to improve in this area and hope to continue to learn from others as we continue our cultural transformation.

  1. Expanding our pipeline of talent

We are committed to building and expanding the pipeline for diverse technical candidates. From our work in DigiGirlz, which has offered more than 40,000 girls the opportunity to participate in STEM, to our partnership with NCWIT Aspirations in Computing for women, to our TEALS program where we have embedded volunteer computer science teachers in 349 schools across 29 states, to our expanded  Microsoft Software Systems Academy military program on seven military bases worldwide, to Year Up, serving urban adults with skill development, we are investing in many programs to build a more diverse pipeline of talent.  We will continue to seek meaningful ways to encourage and cultivate our future workforce.

  1. Driving an inclusive recruiting process

In addition to building and expanding the pipeline, we want to look outside our traditional recruiting practices to become more expansive in our sources and more inclusive in our processes. Great talent is everywhere. We have expanded the scope of universities where we recruit, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Our Autism Hiring and Engineering Acceleration Program (LEAP) programs are examples of how we are actively seeking non-traditional sources to help make us stronger. We are focused on diverse slates and taking the time to ensure we find the best talent, and require managers to take our Inclusive Hiring training. We will continue to hire exceptional people, but with a wider aperture through which to view talent and profiles before making hiring decisions, while ensuring the process is inclusive for everyone.

  1. Empowering and retaining our people

Equally important to recruiting more diverse talent is our ability to retain great talent. We know that people go where they are invited, but they stay where they are welcomed. Our managers play an important role in the development of talent, and we are investing in them to help be better coaches and advocates. As we continue to invest in our Employee Resource Groups (LGBTQ, Disability, Parents, Asians, Blacks, Hispanic/Latinx, and Women) to build community and create opportunity, we are partnering closely with them to identify, discuss and address the unique needs surfaced by each community.

  1. Delighting our customers through diversity       

Building a diverse culture is a critical element to spark innovation and allow unique perspectives and insights to surface. Focusing on a more inclusive design process enables us to build products for a broader set of customers, and appeal to their unique needs. For example, technologies like Seeing AI, a vision-to-language technology that assists the visually impaired community, and Eye Control, which empowers people to use a mouse, keyboard and text-to-speech with their eyes, are two examples where our focus on employees with disabilities has helped us innovate for everyone.

  1. Transforming our culture

Building a culture where each and every employee feels valued, has the opportunity to grow, and is empowered to fulfill their own sense of purpose is foundational to what we are doing. Yet to activate and sustain this culture, we have challenged our employees to embrace changes, big and small. From redefining our performance and development approach, to launching 10 inclusive behaviors that include everyday acts – such as not interrupting each other – every employee is part of the change we’re driving. This includes our senior leadership team, who must model the culture we aspire to have, and where a portion of their bonuses are tied to progress on diversity and inclusion within their respective organizations.

Looking to the future:

Our journey to build a more diverse and inclusive culture continues, and when it comes to our diverse representation, we know that we still have a long way to go. We are committed to improving and learning. We will continue our efforts to attract, develop and retain diverse talent and embrace each  person with appreciation for their uniqueness as individuals.

I want to close by recognizing and honoring the entire employee population at Microsoft. While today I focus on representation of women and ethnic minorities, the need to feel included applies to everyone. And given our broad ambitions and mission, we need everyone. I want this to be a company where all of our employees feel they can thrive, have great careers and can be their authentic selves. That is the true definition of inclusion, and what we aspire to have.

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