Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important priorities for the tech industry. Historically, the industry has been led by straight white men, but that’s changing. The CEO of Google parent Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, is Indian-American. The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is openly gay. Black-owned tech startups are now a thing.
Still, there’s plenty of room for progress. Nearly three-quarters of women in tech (72%) say they’re regularly outnumbered by men in business meetings by at least 2:1, finds a recent survey of 450 women tech professionals conducted by TrustRadius. And at more than two-thirds of tech companies, Black employees make up less than 5% of the workforce, according to BeamJobs.
What are tech giants doing to become more diverse and inclusive? Here’s your tech provider’s look at some of the many programs now underway.
Intel has been actively pursuing diversity for years. In 2018, the company achieved what’s known as “full workforce representation,” meaning the percentage of women and minorities the company employs corresponds with their representation in the general population.
Then, in 2019, Intel achieved gender pay equity worldwide, meaning everyone holding a similar job is paid similarly, regardless of their sex or ethnicity.
And in the company’s 2019-2020 corporate responsibility report, Intel said it had spent $1 billion buying from diverse-owned suppliers, including $200 million with women-owned suppliers.
Intel is still dominated by men, but that’s changing too. As of Dec. 2019, 27.5% of Intel’s total staff were women, as were about 19% of its senior leaders, 20% of its executives, and 25% of its technical workers.
Last month Intel appointed Dawn Jones as its chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO). A 24-year Intel veteran, Jones had been acting in the role since January. Her duties will reportedly include initiatives for the company’s RISE strategy — that’s short for responsible, inclusive, sustainable and enabling.
The company likes to say it is “reinventing ratios.” That includes a 46% rise in women and 54% rise in minorities on its board of directors; a 62% increase in the number of U.S. new hires who are women, minorities, vets and people with disabilities; and a 10% rise in the number of women in leadership (that is, directors and above) since 2015.
Looking ahead, HP has committed to doubling the number of its Black and African-American executives by 2025.
“We continue to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion,” wrote CEO Enrique Lores in a 2019 letter.
Dell says diversity and inclusion are in its DNA. The numbers show that’s still a work in progress. As of last year, women represented less than a third of the company’s global workforce (31%), and just a fifth (20%) of its technical staff. Blacks represented just 5% of its U.S. workforce, and Hispanics, only 8%.
But looking ahead, Dell has ambitiously committed itself to having women represent fully 50% of its global workforce and 40% of its global leaders by 2030. Dell also has committed to having Blacks and Hispanics represent 25% of its U.S. workforce and 15% of its U.S. leadership, also by 2030.
Dell also runs several initiatives for minorities. One of these, called Project Immersion, aims to create educational programs for minorities. Project Immersion works with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to offer tech classes, workshops and seminars. These schools have included such well-known HBCUs as Spelman College, Morehouse College and Howard University.
A lot of progress in diversity can happen with smaller projects. For example, Apple has partnered with Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU, to launch what’s called the African American Male Teacher Initiative.
The multiyear partnership aims to overturn a distressing stat: Only 2% of all U.S. teachers are Black men. To help change that, the program is providing scholarships for students, as well as IT hardware, software and courses.
Earlier this year, Apple also sponsored an Entrepreneur Camp for Black founders and developers, and more than a dozen app companies participated. The idea was to help Black developers turn their technical skills into profitable businesses. It’s part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which aims to expand opportunities for communities of color.