June 19, 2024


Simply Consistent

Intel 2021 diversity and inclusion report shows small progress amid pandemic

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Intel released its 2021 diversity and inclusion report as well as 2020 pay data, and it shows it was challenging to keep diversity progress going in the midst of the pandemic.

Overall, the numbers were flat or slightly down. In 2021, Intel said that 27.7% of its global employees were women, compared to 27.8% in 2020 and 27.5% in 2019 on a global basis. For the U.S., 25.8% of the workforce was women in 2021, compared to 26.3% in 2020 and 26.4% in 2019.

Also in the U.S., 16.1% of the workforce was underrepresented minorities, compared with 16.3% in 2020 and 15.8% in 2019. In 2015, Intel’s previous CEO Brian Krzanich pledged to spend $300 million on diversity and make Intel into a more diversity company.

But the company with 120,000 employees showed some progress in some areas. The board of directors had 30% women in 2021, compared with 30% in 2020 and 20% in 2019. And underrepresented minorities in the U.S. hit 7.8% in 2021, compared to 7.6% in 2020 and 7.3% in 2021.

Dawn Jones, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in an interview with VentureBeat that she looked on the numbers optimistically, given how vulnerable diverse populations of women and underrepresented minorities (Black, indigenous, and LatinX) were during the pandemic.

“I’m an optimist. I like to look at what’s possible instead of what’s not. If we can take anything positive out of the last couple of years, the ability to have people work from anywhere opens up company’s ability to obtain talent from anywhere. And I think that’s a differentiator for companies. I think you have to really lean into it. You can’t take old traditional solutions to hiring and try to apply it to the workforce of the future because it’s not going to work.”

She said that Intel is leaning into a hybrid work environment, with offices for people who want them and work-from-home for those who prefer that.

“Over the last year, we made progress across all of our 2030 goals,” said Jones. “Of course, 2020 and 2021 have been challenging years. We just wanted to make sure that we stayed focused on the goals that we have, and there is incremental progress. When you have 10 year goals, you set yearly goals, and you just want to make sure that you’re staying healthy and tracking to the 10 year overall goal.”

She noted that millions of people left their jobs in recent months during the Great Resignation, and women and underrepresented populations have considered leaving the workplace or changed jobs at a record rate. She said that underscores the deep value of fostering a culture on flexibility, inclusion and respect for employees.

“It’s always difficult when you don’t see the big jump that that you would anticipate,” Jones said. “We also are hopeful that we didn’t have a big dip. This is the time of the Great Resignation. We know that there’s a little bit over 4 million people who have left their jobs over the last few years that we also have an unemployment rate that is at pre-pandemic levels. So people are leaving companies and leaving work, they’re going to work somewhere else.”

Regarding the board changes, Jones said, “We always have to be looking at ourselves and pushing to change and hold the mirror up for ourselves. Of course, board representation is critically important. And even when you look at the ability or the desire to have diverse representation and the higher levels of the company, the only way you can get someone onto a board position is you have to be a senior executive at a different company. And so that’s also a way that you diversify the boards at different companies. We’ve been very intentional.”

Corporate responsibility report

Intel’s diversity report for 2021.

Intel included the diversity numbers within its 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report, rather than breaking them out as a separate report in the past. That report covers the broader topics of Intel’s focus on environmental, social, and governance work. In the report, Intel added multiethnic categories of “two or more” ethnicities or “other” to help capture the details better. That, along with increased global hiring for manufacturing, resulted in a slight decline in representation percentage, even if absolute numbers increased.

Intel also released its 2020 U.S. pay data in the EEO-1 format, doing so for the third time even though it is not required by law. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not require employers to file EEO-1 pay
data for this timeframe, in the spirit of transparency Intel felt it was important to not only continue to collect the data, but to disclose it publicly, Jones said.

“Even though it is not a requirement, we think that it is very important that we continue to be transparent,” Jones said. “We do it as a way to hold ourselves and our industry accountable.”

Jones said that Intel is making efforts in areas where it is doing a lot of hiring. In Ohio, Intel plans to build two leading edge factories at a cost of $20 billion. To staff those factories, the company is investing $50 million directly in Ohio higher education institutions and another $50 million (with $50 million in matching funds from the federal National Science Foundation) to make sure Intel has access to a skilled workforce.

“We think that there is a lot of talent within the region that we will have access to,” Jones said.

More data

The Great Resignation has taken its toll on diversity.

The 2021 U.S. workforce and 2020 pay data key findings show that, for U.S. pay data, salaries for women trended at or slightly higher than men within the higher pay bands showing improvement from the previous year.

“I think when you look at the pay data, compared to the demographic data, it follows that there is a gap in senior leadership. And when you have less women and less people of color in senior leadership, your pay is going to be less,” said Jones. “When we look at it, we ask if we made any significant progress on the last three or five years.”

Intel also said that the percentage of underrepresented populations in senior leadership positions increased from 7.6% to 7.8%. This is an increase of 384 to 444 in absolute numbers.

“If we make an intentional effort and we can get movement of women and people in color in those senior leadership roles, we will start to see the closing of some of those pay gaps,” Jones said.

Intel also said that its veteran representation has remained relatively flat year over year, moving from 7.3% to 7.2%, while the count of employees who identify as veterans increased by roughly 150. This difference is explained by Intel’s unprecedented growth.

Intel surpassed its milestone goal of reaching 1,375 women in leadership roles, ending the year with 1,449 women in senior leadership roles across the globe. Although the absolute number of women leaders increased, the relative representation of women leaders decreased 0.1 percentage point due to the overall growth of the company.

And global representation of technical women declined from 25.2% to 24.3%. However, it is important to note Intel fine-tuned how it measures technical workers to align with the industry. Additionally, this decline is partly attributed to robust hiring and growth.

Intel now has approximately 26,000 technical women working at Intel, which is the highest number since Intel started reporting diversity data.

In 2021, 90% of employees reported, “I am treated with dignity and respect at work,” a 2% increase year over year and “Intel makes it easy for people from diverse backgrounds to fit in and be accepted,” a 3% increase in favorable responses year over year.

While the total number of women in Intel’s workforce has increased this year as the employee population grew, Intel said it must address the .9 percentage point decline in relative representation of women in technical roles. To help meet the 2030 goal of increasing representation of women in technical roles to 40%, Intel plans, in part, to implement targeted programs to increase the number of women hired for technician, engineering hardware and software roles through sourcing, pipelining and workforce development initiatives.

Further, Intel has set a goal to ensure hiring for technical entry-level roles is at least 30% women in 2022. Intel believes it’s critical to bring employees along in this effort, so it has also set this as one of our companywide annual performance bonus goals.

Alliance for Global Inclusion

It’s also been a year since Intel launched the Alliance for Global Inclusion. This coalition aims to improve diversity and inclusion practices and promote transparent reporting in four critical areas: leadership representation, inclusive language, inclusive product development and STEM readiness in underserved communities.

D+I cannot be solved by one company alone, Jones said. New members include Applied Materials, Lam Research, Micron, Equinix and TEL US. This group joins founding members Intel, Snap Inc., Nasdaq, Dell Technologies and NTT DATA. The group will release its global inclusion index report this summer.

“We doubled the number of companies that have participated and continue to participate in the alliance,” Jones said.

Jones said Intel remains committed to its 2030 goals of getting the number of women in technical roles to 40%, doubling the number of women and underrepresented minorities in senior leadership roles, advancing accessibility and increasing the percentage of employees who self-identify as having a disability to 10% of the workforce,
and ensuring inclusive leadership practices are embedded in our global culture.

Additionally, the Alliance for Global Inclusion plans to create suggested guidance to increase diverse representation in the C-suite at all companies, identify the next set of terminology in its inclusive language work, develop a way to implement processes that enable AI collaboration to address bias in HR systems and deploy an integrated effort to positively impact the computer science teachers pipeline while increasing access to STEM job opportunities for
underrepresented groups with non-traditional pathways.

In a letter in the CSR report, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said, “I am extremely proud of Intel’s long-standing leadership in corporate responsibility and sustainability, including initiatives in diversity and inclusion, education, and philanthropy. Our focus helps us contribute responsible, inclusive, and sustainable practices across our operations, products, and supply chain.” He also said Intel spent $1.4 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in 2021.

I asked if it is difficult for Intel to get to 30% women if the pool of engineers, which make up a big chunk of Intel’s employees, is low on women to start with. Jose said that is why it remains important to get more people interested in technical careers early on.

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