Intel Diversity Milestone Doesn’t Quite Make the Grade

Intel announced Monday that it had reached a diversity milestone that has some questioning an employee culture that would boast such low diversity numbers as an achievement.

diversity milestone

According to Intel, the company achieved this diversity milestone well ahead of its 2020 schedule, reaching a “full representation” of women and minorities in its U.S. workforce.

In January 2015, the technological behemoth pledged to “improve diversity and inclusion in the entire technology industry,” devoting $300 million to support this goal and investing in programs to expand STEM education access and opportunities in underrepresented communities, as well as internal programs.  At the time, Intel’s U.S. employees consisted of 24 percent female, 8 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent black. Fast forward to 2018, and while Intel’s diversity milestone represents a marked improvement from its previous figures, it still isn’t exactly representative of the U.S. population in general or even the U.S. workforce.

Intel’s Diversity Milestone Not “Particularly Aspirational”

Intel’s annual diversity report indicates women now account for 26.8 percent of its US workforce. Hispanic and black workers now represent 9.2 percent and 5 percent of Intel’s employees in America respectively. These numbers are obviously not exactly spectacular.

However, Intel claims these numbers reflect the available talent pool and are merely an initial step toward achieving greater diversity aspirations. The tech company says that the term “full representation” is in relation to market availability that the company determined from several sources’ data, including the U.S. Census Bureau, internal company data, and the National Center for Education Statistics.

The CEO and founder of the diversity-and-inclusion strategy company Paradigm, Joelle Emerson, conceded to the Wall Street Journal that Intel’s target was “not particularly aspirational.” However, Emerson added that it “means we are as representative as basically other organizations in our industry.” But, the technology sector is not exactly known for embracing diversity, which could explain Intel setting its diversity initiative aims so low.

Intel claims that its difficulties with diversity and inclusion are directly related to the fact that 85 percent of its employees work in technical roles. However, Intel’s non-technical employees are also overwhelmingly white at 66.2 percent.

The tech company indicates that its next diversity milestone will be to achieve inclusion on a global scale.

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