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Microsoft boosts gender diversity, but sees smaller gains for racial and ethnic minorities

Geekwire logo Geekwire 10/21/2020 Todd Bishop
graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: Microsoft graphic comparing the gender and racial makeup of the company between 2019 and 2020. See full graphic in the company’s report. © Provided by Geekwire Microsoft graphic comparing the gender and racial makeup of the company between 2019 and 2020. See full graphic in the company’s report.

Women now represent 28.6% of Microsoft’s global workforce, up from 25.5% three years ago; and 20% of the company’s executive and partner-level positions, up from 15.8% three years earlier, according to its annual Diversity and Inclusion report, released Wednesday morning.

However, Microsoft is reporting smaller increases in the representation of racial and ethnic minorities in its workforce. Black and African American employees at the company, for example, rose by 0.3 percentage points over the past year, to 4.9%; and represent about 2.9% of executive and partner-level positions, up 0.2 percentage points from the year before.

As part of a racial justice plan announced in June, Microsoft said it would spend an additional $150 million on diversity and inclusion programs, and double its number of Black and African American managers and senior employees by 2025 in the United States.

Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Microsoft’s chief diversity officer, said in a post that the company has seen modest progress in some areas, citing the overall increase in the representation of women at the company, up 1 percentage point over the past year.

“However, racial and ethnic minority communities have largely seen incremental progress and there is still much work to be done,” she acknowledged.

a woman wearing a blue shirt: Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Microsoft’s chief diversity officer. © Provided by Geekwire Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Microsoft’s chief diversity officer.

She added, “We see clear opportunity to improve representation across all levels and roles, especially for Black and African American and Hispanic and Latinx employees. We are prioritizing our recent commitments to strengthen our intentional career planning and talent development efforts on the path to senior leadership.”

The numbers above are for what Microsoft describes as its core business, not including previously acquired companies that operate largely independently. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, for example, says women represent 42% of its leadership, an increase of 12% in the past three years.

For the first time, the company’s report also included data on its percentage of employees with disabilities, saying that 6.1% of its U.S. employees self-identify as having a disability.

In a separate post, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer, said that if Microsoft is to live up to its mission, it “must have people with disabilities in the core of our company, to share their expertise and strength to ensure that our products meet the needs of our customers and employees.”

See the full report.

Note: LinkedIn growth timeframe, and Microsoft Black and African American growth rate corrected since original post. 

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