Intel offers another reminder working women had it tough in 2020

Intel's annual diversity and inclusion report showed ups and downs diversifying its workforce, but women in the US lost ground.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Erin Carson
3 min read

Intel's diversity and inclusion report is out. 

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Intel had a harder time retaining women in its US workforce in 2020 than globally, according to the company's annual diversity and inclusion report for the year, out Tuesday. 

While nearly all of the chipmaker's gains and losses in diversifying came in tenths of percentages points, the company still saw some decreases in the overall number of women, and the number of women in technical roles in the US. Women slid to 26.3% from 26.5% and women in technical roles fell to 23.5% from 23.7%. Globally, numbers rose to 27.8% from 27.4% and 25.2% from 24.6%, respectively.

While it's impossible to extrapolate from the report what caused the shift, the numbers highlight an issue that extends far beyond Intel: 2020 has taken a toll on working women. In September, McKinsey published its annual Women in the Workplace report, sounding the alarm about women considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce to compensate for the added responsibilities and stressors brought about by the pandemic. 

It's an issue Intel is aware of, said Dawn Jones, interim chief diversity and inclusion officer. 

"When you're all home at the same time, and you have to work full time, it's a unique situation [that's] not just Intel," she said, "What are the deep solutions that we can drive to help support our women to choose Intel as a workplace of choice, where they want to be and where we are supportive of their careers going forward?"

Overall in terms of race and ethnicity, the percentage of Hispanic employees rose from 10% to 10.5%. The percentage of Black employees stayed flat at 4.9%, the percentage of Native American employees rose to 0.80% from 0.70%. Intel stands at 37.6% Asian employees but did not give a figure for this population last year. 

The report comes just weeks after Intel's chief diversity officer, Barbara Whye, left her post for Apple. It also comes several months after the company staked out its next set of goals, promising to put women in 40% of technical roles globally and to double the numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership roles in the next 10 years. 

In 2015, Intel pledged $300 million toward diversity and inclusion efforts, and it has been one of few companies to set public goals in the past five to six years, as publishing annual diversity reports became standard practice among the biggest companies in tech. 

New intel 

Beyond the usual summary of gender, race and ethnicity, Intel introduced new data about women of color into the report, saying they make up 3.8% of its US workforce. 

When it comes to disclosing information specifically regarding women of color, most tech companies don't provide that intersectional look into their workforces. In short, a company might publish how many women work there and how many Black employees it has, but not how many Black women are on staff. Intel doesn't further parse out its data into individual categories of race and ethnicity. 

Jones said looking at intersectional data will hopefully help Intel recruit and retain women of color, particularly in leadership roles. In addition, Intel is introducing an executive version of its Warmline initiative. The Warmline is an online hotline aimed at giving employee resources if they're facing an issue at work. The company said in 2018 that it had a 90% retention rate among those who had used it. 

The report also noted that 27% of all promotions to vice president roles were women, and that the company is 7.3% military veterans.