Posted on October 31, 2018

Intel Hits an Internal Goal for Workforce Diversity

Top Technical Solutions, October 30, 2018

Intel Corp. on Monday announced an internal milestone in its push for a more diverse workforce: It has achieved “full representation.”

But that doesn’t mean it has reached gender or racial equality.

Instead, the company says, its workforce now reflects the available talent pool — roughly 27% female, 9.2% Hispanic and a little under 5% African American. Those numbers lag well behind the overall population as well as the workforce at large, but Intel says hitting this goal is a first step toward achieving broader diversity.

{snip} Intel is one of a growing number that are setting concrete diversity goals — but choosing benchmarks they think are attainable in the near term.


{snip} Still, while nearly all companies say they want to build diverse workforces, most decline to disclose their goals publicly.

Some companies are hesitant to join Paradigm for Parity, a coalition of over 80 companies that have pledged to reach gender parity in executive ranks by 2030. “They don’t want to sign something that they are fearful that they can’t achieve,” said Jewelle Bickford, co-chair of Paradigm for Parity.


The company said it bases “full representation” on market availability, which it calculates by pulling from different sources, including university graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and internal company data.

The target is “not particularly aspirational,” said Joelle Emerson, founder and CEO of Paradigm, a diversity-and-inclusion strategy firm based in San Francisco. It “means we are as representative as basically other organizations in our industry.”


In many ways, Intel’s numbers are similar to those disclosed by other tech companies struggling to diversify their ranks beyond white and Asian men, particularly in leadership and technical positions. The skilled labor force remains shallow in those areas. For example, at Intel, African Americans make up just 1.8% of their technical executives and just over 2% of technical managers.

Hitting the internal target is “like one inch on the 12-inch ruler,” said Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, who says the company’s next likely goal is to be more reflective of the U.S. population.

Ms. Whye said Intel has baked diversity and inclusion goals into the business, with 7% of all employee bonuses tied to hiring and retention goals. About 45% of hiring must be considered “diverse hiring,” and the exit rate of “diverse” employees 0.5% less than majority counterparts.

Women and under-represented groups like Hispanic and African-American workers are now leaving at a slower rate. Ms. Whye attributes the improvement to initiatives like the company’s WarmLine, which catches workers who may be thinking about leaving because they do not feel challenged or included.

{snip} Ms. Whye said Intel changed the hiring process to make sure diverse candidates are considered for new jobs and people of different backgrounds are on interview panels. But she discovered that “diverse” employees were still being overlooked for promotions because they tended to go through the formal application process, whereas other employees made use of informal networks to land new jobs within the company. Now, all employees must apply for jobs through official channels.