Diversity and inclusion update: The journey continues

Earlier today, Microsoft released its fourth annual comprehensive workforce demographic report. This report reflects our commitment to continuous improvement, finding new ways of reaching diverse talent pools and continuing to evolve a culture of inclusion throughout every level of the company.

The takeaway from today’s report is this: We are seeing signs of progress, and some of the seeds planted in prior years are beginning to take root, but we know we have more ahead of us than behind us. We know that diversity for our employee population requires a long-term commitment and success will not happen overnight. We must also continue to foster an inclusive working environment that will enable all our employees to do their best work and serve the diverse needs of our customers around the world. In short, we need to build on the past year’s progress and recognize we have a lot of work still to do.
Consistent with last year’s disclosure, today we are sharing not only Microsoft’s numbers in a stand-alone fashion, but we are also providing a snapshot of Microsoft and LinkedIn’s representation in two key categories: women globally; and racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S.

Microsoft & LinkedIn
This year and going forward, we’ve aligned reporting of our workforce representation data with the end of our fiscal year; all year-over-year comparisons appearing in this post will compare June 30, 2018 to June 30, 2017.* As of June 30, 2018, the total combined percentage of women who work at Microsoft and LinkedIn stood at 28 percent, up one percentage point from the same time last year. The percentage of African American/Black employees at the two companies increased from 3.8 percent to 4 percent; and the percentage of Hispanic/Latinx employees saw a similar year-over-year increase from 5.5 percent to 5.7 percent. For a look at LinkedIn’s stand-alone workforce demographics, click on LinkedIn Diversity.

A Look at Microsoft’s Numbers

Women at Microsoft – Gains Along the Continuum

Our efforts to recruit, retain and grow the careers of women at Microsoft resulted in an increase in female representation at the company of 1.1 percentage points compared to last year, from 25.5 percent to 26.6 percent.
We’re seeing gains along the continuum, from early-in-career employees to women in more senior roles. For example, the percentage of female interns at Microsoft increased from 40.4 percent to 42.5 percent in the past year. In addition:

  • The representation of women in technical roles increased nearly one and a half percentage points – from 18.5 percent to 19.9 percent.
  • The representation of women in leadership roles increased almost a full percentage point, from 18.8 percent to 19.7 percent.

These increases in representation are important because they are one indicator of how our work to develop groundbreaking technologies and solutions across the company is increasingly informed by a wider range of perspectives and experiences. These figures also represent a longer-term trend of women in technical and leadership roles at Microsoft.

Women at Microsoft

Racial & Ethnic Minorities

In terms of race and ethnicity, we saw slight year-over-year growth in total representation as well as in tech and leadership roles.

The representation of African American/Black employees increased from 3.9 percent to 4.1 percent, and the representation of Hispanic/Latinx employees increased from 5.8 percent to 6.0 percent.

We saw modest increases for both African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx employees in leadership and tech roles, as well:

  • African American/Black representation in tech roles increased from 2.5 percent to 2.8 percent
  • African American/Black representation in leadership roles increased from 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent
  • Hispanic/Latinx representation in tech roles increased from 4.2 percent to 4.5 percent
  • Hispanic/Latinx representation in leadership roles increased from 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent

Racial & Ethnic Minorities

We also pay close attention to leading indicators to see how we are doing at attracting new employees to come work at Microsoft.  In the past year, for example, more than half of our U.S. interns were women, African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx.

Board of Directors and SLT Representation

Our board of directors remains among the most diverse of any company in the technology industry with six of 14 board members either being women or ethnic minorities. Our 15-member Senior Leadership Team includes three women and three racial or ethnic minorities.

The Road Ahead – The “How” Behind our Efforts to Improve

Anyone who has followed the issue of diversity in tech over the past several years knows that impacting workforce demographic numbers – particularly in large companies – requires persistence and a long-term commitment to improve.

There are no quick fixes. True, long-lasting change can only come from dedicated, intentional efforts throughout the entire technology ecosystem – such as building an early appreciation for technology as a fulfilling academic or career path, inspiring talented people to consider joining the technology industry, investing in the ongoing development of our talent, building more connections for a sense of belonging, and increasing the skills of managers and leaders to better support the growth and success of their employees.

Whether it is enhancing our inclusive hiring practices, embedding inclusion into our DNA as a company, or holding leaders accountable for diversity and inclusion within their own organizations – all of these things factor into how we are approaching our D&I efforts at Microsoft.

Broadening our Aperture: Finding Talent in New Ways

We know that there is great talent and potential in our world. We’re continuing to push ourselves to engage in developing the pipeline, while also challenging our assumptions on where and how best to identify talented employees. We’re investing in a wide range of initiatives and programs to identify great people who can help Microsoft grow and innovate. Here are a few examples:

  • DigiGirlz gives middle school and high school aged girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops.
  • Black Girls Code helps provide girls of color ages 7-17 exposure to computer science and technology so they can start seeing themselves in and working towards roles in tech.
  • The Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program led by Microsoft helps high schools build and grow sustainable computer science programs. Approximately 53,000 students have participated in a TEALS class since 2009, 30 percent of whom have been female and 30 percent of whom have been a racial or ethnic minority. The number of girls and minority students participating in a TEALS program has grown over 400 percent in the past five years.
  • We continue to be a leading funder and board member of Code.org which works at-scale across the country and has made diversity in computer science a major priority. This past year, 45 percent of the students in Code.org’s K-12 classes were female, and 48 percent were minorities.
  • Our strategic partnership with the National Center for Women in Technology’s (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing program has channeled more than 13,000 high school girls into the computer science pipeline.
  • The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy provides military service members and veterans with critical technology skills and job opportunities as they transition into the civilian workforce.
  • Our Military Spouse Training Academy is a new pilot program that provides spouses with technology skills training.
  • Our engagement in tech apprenticeship programs helps identify and develop talent for the industry through curriculum and on-the-job training. Microsoft is one of the founding hiring partners for Apprenti, a registered apprenticeship program recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • We also created our own immersive apprenticeship, called the Learning Engineering Acceleration Program (LEAP), to develop as software engineers and technical program managers for Microsoft’s core engineering groups.
  • Through our Inclusive Hiring program, we are innovating new approaches to recruit people with disabilities. Our Autism Hiring Program is just one example of the promise and potential of these programs.

As we pivot to new technologies like AI, the Cloud and Quantum computing, we need to have a real-world approach to finding talent wherever it may exist, not just in computer science classrooms at four-year universities. The world around us is growing each day with advances in technology and industry, so too must our approach to finding, growing and advancing talent.

Inclusion as a Core Priority

Our efforts to expand the talent pipeline and grow our inclusive hiring practices can be considered foundational to Microsoft’s overall D&I efforts. But we’re not content to simply rely on existing programs to get people into the company – we are pushing ourselves to treat employees like we are recruiting them every single day. Inclusion – the way we engage with and learn from each other and remind each other we belong here – is critical to what we’re building at the company. Our efforts to attract diverse candidates can only move us forward if we provide the opportunity for people to do their best work and feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

We are deepening our commitment to building a more inclusive environment through programs like expanded parental leave, unconscious bias training and the continued support for and growth of our eight Employee Resource Groups.  More recently, we made Inclusion a “core priority” for all employees at Microsoft, which means that as part of the performance review and growth process, every employee is invited to deepen their learning about diversity and make inclusion a daily – and personal – part of their job.

Leader Accountability

We are also continuing to hold leaders accountable by tying a portion of their compensation directly to diversity progress within their respective organizations and increasing manager adoption of inclusive practices through targeted training sessions, learning/feedback solutions and toolkits.

Our approach is holistic. While each of these initiatives is designed to have some measure of individual impact, we look at them collectively and believe the whole is greater than the sum of their parts.

Final Thoughts

Seeing signs of progress with the state of diversity inside Microsoft should not be equated with being content, because we are anything but. The numbers we are sharing today tell us we are on the right path – but we know we’re still in the nascent stages of our journey. True success should be defined along a continuum that includes more than just point-in-time numbers.

While I have only been in my role for four months, I am energized by the challenges and opportunities in front of us. We are driven by a mission that is inherently inclusive: empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Employees at all levels and in all functions own the cultural transformation by their individual actions. And Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is deeply connected to its purpose to create the technologies that will fulfill its mission to help all achieve more. Mission, culture, purpose – the right fuel for our ongoing journey.

*Disclosures in prior years were based on a September 30 reporting date.

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