Intel hits diversity targets for U.S. workforce 2 years ahead of goal

Source: Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat, October 29, 2018

Intel announced it has achieved full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce two years ahead of its 2020 goal. That means that the percentage of women and underrepresented minorities matches the talent pool available for skilled workers in the U.S.

The world’s biggest PC processor maker said its staff is now 27 percent female, 9.2 percent Hispanic, and 4.6 percent African American.

The company’s workforce now reflects the percent of women and underrepresented minorities available in the U.S. skilled labor market, which was a target set in 2015 by former CEO Brian Krzanich, who ironically left the company earlier this year after violating a policy on fraternizing with a female employee in a consensual relationship.

Intel said the results came from a strategy that took into account hiring, retention, and progression. The company said this is “just the beginning for Intel’s work in this space.”

“We are proud of our progress but not satisfied,” said Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and vice president of human resources for two of Intel’s groups. “We prioritize this as a business imperative to drive innovation and future growth. Diversity and inclusion cannot be treated as an add-on. It has to be integrated into everything we do, and this is just the beginning. We need to make sure inclusion remains at the center. Every voice matters, and we need to listen and act to make change happen.”

Intel said it believes a diverse workforce and inclusive culture are key to its evolution. Diverse teams with different perspectives, experiences, and ideas are more creative and innovative, resulting in a collaborative and supportive environment. Intel said it will continue its ongoing commitment to advance diversity and inclusion, collaborate with industry partners on key learnings, and encourage a community of openness, belonging, and inclusion.

More than 85 percent of Intel’s workforce serves in technical roles, making the goal more difficult to achieve.

When Krzanich announced the goal in January, 2015, during his CES keynote speech, Intel committed $300 million to support this goal and the company’s broader goal of improving diversity and inclusion in the entire technology industry. As part of that program, Intel invests in initiatives that expand access to STEM education and opportunities in underserved populations, including pathway programs, grants, and mentorship. Additionally, Intel also invested in internal programs.

Overall representation of underrepresented minorities at Intel in the U.S. is now at 14.6 percent. Of course, this isn’t really full representation, as women and underrepresented minorities are a much larger part of the overall population.

Intel’s last report in March noted that the remaining gap to full representation was with African American employees. This was closed due to continuous efforts in hiring, retention, and progression. African Americans had the highest overall underrepresented minority percentage point increase in the U.S. employee population and now make up 4.6 percent of Intel employees overall.

In 2016, Intel instituted a program called Warmline, a confidential employee hotline designed to help employees with career advancement and improve the overall employee experience. It has increasingly gained traction as a resource for employees, and as a result has also become a source of insight into creating a more inclusive environment. Since its inception, the Warmline has received more than 20,000 cases with a retention rate of 82 percent.

Women account for nearly 27 percent of Intel’s total U.S. employee base, with almost 24 percent of women in technical roles. The company offers several programs to support women through career progression, including “Pay It Forward,” a mentoring program scaled to support 6,000 female mid-level employees, and “Women at Intel Network,” the company’s largest employee resource group, which supports more than 7,000 employees globally.

In 2019, Intel plans to offer its Warmline service globally, drive leadership parity, and focus on women of color.

Intel is targeting the challenges that women of color face in the workplace, as it is a founding member of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, an initiative spearheaded by Melinda Gates’ investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures. The coalition will align existing philanthropic donations and increase funding to double the number of women of color graduating with computing degrees in the U.S. by 2025.