Intel diversity report shows progress is tough to measure

The chip maker's mid-year report shows small upticks but progress toward a larger goal of achieving full representation.

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Erin Carson
3 min read

Intel has a new diversity report out.

Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images

After pledging to achieve full representation in its US workforce by 2020, Intel says it's going to hit its goal two years early.

But while the chipmaker sees this as a significant milestone toward creating a more diverse company, its mid-year diversity and inclusion report shows there's still more work to be done -- a common refrain in tech.

"This is critical work, and we must accelerate it, especially in the areas where we haven't come as far as we would like," CEO Brian Krzanich said in a blog post Tuesday.

Intel is among the most aggressive companies looking to address the issue of diversity in Silicon Valley. One of the ways it does this is through the release of diversity report, twice a year. Many companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google do this now, highlighting the ways they're trying to balance out the percentage of white men dominant in the industry, particularly in technical roles.

Intel's focusing on a metric you don't normally see in diversity and inclusion reports: the gap to full representation. Intel has set the market availability, which is the measurement of how many skilled people are in the labor market, for the categories of employees that it hires as its goal. It's also calculating that gap broadly, saying it's improved by 65 percent. It'll only take 801 people to reach full representation.

Of course, it's not quite that simple.

Barbara Whye, Intel's chief diversity and inclusion officer as of April, said 60 percent of the remaining gap of 801 employees is largely made of African American employees in technical roles, a group that actually lost a tenth of a percentage point in the last year.

The release of the report comes just hours after Krzanich resigned from President Donald Trump 's American Manufacturing Council following backlash against Trump for waiting to call out the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

"Over the past two weeks, sharp debate -- and tragically, even violence -- over issues of race and gender has reminded us that there is still so much work to do to build a society that abhors prejudice and values love over hate and equal opportunity for all," Krzanich said in a blog post.

Since 2015, Krzanich has tried to put his money where his mouth is, committing $300 million to diversity efforts and launching a broad range of programs within the company covering issues like retention and manager training, even tying managers' pay to hiring goals.

Still, looking at the company's stats, progress is slow.

Overall, Intel is 26 percent female, up from 25.7 percent last year; 8.3 percent Hispanic, up from 8.2 percent; 3.6 percent black, down from 3.7 percent; and .6 Native American, flat from last year.

Meanwhile, the percentage of whites and Asian men, which Intel groups together, stands at 64.6 percent, down from 64.9 percent.

Women hold 22.1 percent of technical roles, up from 21.6 percent. Technical roles are at 3.4 percent black, down from 3.5 percent. Hispanics hold 8.1 percent, up from 7.9, and Native Americans were flat again at .6 percent. The percentage of whites and Asian men stands at 68.2 percent, down from 68.8 percent last year.

"In parallel with the work that Intel is doing internally, around retention and hitting market availability, we're also doing work in trying to grow and expand the pipeline," Whye said of other initiatives and programs outsides of Intel's walls that they hope will help boost the market availability numbers for women and minorities which are pretty low.  "This work is never one and done."

This mid-year report also includes details on additional groups like veterans, employees with disabilities and LGBTQ employees. While Intel provided breakdowns of what those groups look like in terms of diversity, it didn't provide overall percentages. 

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