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Women account for 29 percent of Microsoft's workforce

In its latest diversity report, Microsoft says that it is employing more women now than ever. Female employees now account for 29 percent of the total Microsoft workforce, up from 24 percent last year. In addition to the general workforce, Microsoft says that the proportion of women senior executives also rose from 24 to 27 percent this year. Additionally, women and minorities also comprise a larger percentage of Microsoft's board of directors, up from 33 percent to 40 percent.

In terms of minorities, Microsoft says that 60.6 percent of its workforce is comprised of Caucasian, 28.9 percent Asian, 5.1 percent Hispanic/Latino, 3.5 percent American/African Black, 1.2 percent multi-racial, 0.5 pcerent American Indian/Alaskan native, and 0.3 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

The numbers Microsoft is reporting is very similar to rival Google, which stated that its workforce is made up of 30 percent women and 61 percent Caucasian.

Here is the email that Microsoft EVP of Human Resources Lisa Brummel sent to employees:

I've recently received a number of questions from employees due to the increased industry focus on diversity. I want to take this opportunity to share a report on diversity and inclusion at Microsoft with you.

Microsoft has a long history of substantial investment and engagement in promoting diversity and inclusion in our workforce. As part of that commitment, we started sharing data regarding the diversity of our employee population in 1998, and have publicly posted diversity data on https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.com%2Fdeeplink%3Fid%3DkXQk6%252AivFEQ%26mid%3D24542%26u1%3DUUwpUdUnU25943%26murl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.microsoft.com%252Fen-us%252F&token=-O9BovZI on a voluntary basis since 2006. We recently updated our data to include our newest employees from Nokia and added additional detail. You can also find our updated diversity data here. As you look at the data, you will see that we are in generally the same position as others in our industry. In our 20+ years of committed efforts toward managing diversity and inclusion effectively, what we've learned is that diversity is not a finite goal that can simply be achieved, then "checked off" a list; it is a journey that requires constant self-assessment and recommitment.

Diversity and inclusion are a business imperative. Diversity needs to be a source of strength and competitive advantage for us. Our customer base is increasingly diverse. As our business evolves to focus more on end-to-end customer experiences, having a diverse employee base will better position Microsoft to anticipate, respond to and serve the needs of the changing marketplace. And representation itself is not enough – we must also create an inclusive work environment that enables us to capitalize on the diverse perspectives, ideas and innovative solutions of our employees.

Over the past year, we made continued progress in increasing the diversity of our workforce and leadership, including:

  • Growing the percentage of women in our global workforce from 24 to 29 percent.
  • Increasing the number of Microsoft senior executive women and minorities from 24 to 27 percent.
  • Raising the percentage of women and minorities on the Microsoft board of directors from 33 to 40 percent.

Have we made progress? Yes, we certainly have, and I am proud of the progress we have made. But we can all agree that much work remains to be done to increase the diversity of our company and the tech industry.

We have a strong history to build upon. We are expanding the pipeline for the next generation of technology leaders through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs like DigiGirlz, Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day, and our new global Microsoft YouthSpark program. Through these programs, we reached more than 100 million youth with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. And, for the first time ever, we are now hiring our DigiGirlz as full-time employees, from a talent pool we fostered years ago. This proves the lasting impact of these programs. The pipeline we invested in years ago is now coming back to us – a result every company strives for. It is a slow process, but we are seeing momentum from our efforts.

This is just the beginning of the conversation. In the coming weeks, we will share more information about both new and ongoing strategic investments and partnerships to advance diversity and inclusion at Microsoft and in the tech industry. We will also detail new core priorities for leaders and people managers at Microsoft to make our company the absolute best place to work.

Lisa

What do you think Microsoft could do to attract more women and minority into tech? Is Microsoft doing enough when compared to rivals like Apple and Google to attract a more diversified workforce?

Source: ZDNet

Chuong Nguyen
Senior Editor

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. For news tips or to connect, please message him on the Signal messaging app at +1 (424) 666-7438. 

87 Comments
  • maybe thats why they are so slow releasing products
  • What would satisfy you?  If they released product every week?  everyday?  every month?  Do you care if it's a finished product or not? 
  • Every 2 weeks
  • I would be satisfied if they could actually fix or complete something. Every time they do complete something, they give it three months, trash it and start over like Zune/Xbox or Media Center. Other things, like WiFi stability on the Surface Pro have been broken since the first day of the first gen.
  • "every time"? Really?
  • I agree. They should hire more women. That might speed things up. Women's brains are better at multi-tasking according to some study I read somwhere. You have to be able to do a dozen things at once to get a product out the door.
  • "some study I read online somewhere" isn't exactly a good source.....
  • Also probably why everything is half bakes
  • Multitasking like when driving they are focusing on one thing only and can't predict what will happen on the road?
  • It's like that All State commercial. "You've seen those women on the road. One hand on the wheel, one hand texting on the phone, one hand doing her makeup, one hand drinking here mocha frappe, and one hand turning the radio, then before you know it....BAM".
  • Still, that was pretty impressive right up to the crash part.
  • Their problem is not getting products out the door. Their problem is getting finished products out the door.
  • Mike, you clearly havent written a line of code in your life LOL Delivery needs focus anbd resource, not increased ability to spin plates. Microsoft's problem seems to be internal politics which is seems like they at least trying to resolve.
  • A feelgood article that hides the truth- women do not have equal opportunities to men! Sure, 5% rise, but that's still 71% of employees being men! That's really, really not good enough. 
  • Or maybe there are fewer women interested in tech jobs than men? I can say as a woman that when I get technical most of my female friends give me a blank stare. Most just aren't that deeply interested in the nitty-gritty of tech.
  • This. All of these whiners blame companies for lack of diversity without considering if the "under-represented" demo is truly under represented or just not interested in that particular career field.
  • ....or if they are actively discouraged from going down that career path starting at a very young age....
  • That's the problem, it seems to be cultural, that woman 'just can't get technical'. It's not even true! The problem is that the tech industry hasn't spent time engaging woman, even though they are just as capable as men. A lot of talent is being missed, and I think one of the failures on the part of the tech industry is simply that it is a male-dominated culture that sees no need to engage women. And it should.
  • No one except fools are claiming women can't get technical or lack the mental capacity, I'm saying most women don't care that much about finding out how tech works. It's just not a common hobby the same way women have hobbies that are uncommon amongst men.
  • And I'm saying not enough is done to encourage more women into the tech industry! It's at a school level, where science is dominated by male students. Why is this? Because "girls can't do science", a view which is generally discouraging to young minds. It's all about gender roles. They need to be less rigid, girls need to see science and technology as more interesting, and as something that is inclusive. Now, no doubt a considerable number of them do, but what I am really trying to say is that the science and technology industries need to do more to show it in a positive way to young women. If this view trickles down from the top, then more women will be employed in tech. At the moment, this is not happening, which is what I am really trying to be critical about. I also think we should have more equality in industries dominated by women (such as the fashion industry). More equality in general, actually.
  • It's not a problem. There is no problem here. No, tech companies don't have to try to get woman into tech. Tech companies didn't try to get men into tech yet there is a dominate male figure in tech companies. It's like saying "salons don't do enough to get men attracted to styling hair" but it has nothing to do with the companies trying to get woman or men. It has EVERYTHING to do with men not as interested in styling hair as woman are but men are more interested in technical stuff then woman. It's just like auto repair. Men are just typically more interested in fixing cars then women. MEN ENJOY TECHNICAL THINGS MORE THEN WOMAN. FACT! Apparently 30% of woman do enjoy working with tech though. I've met way more males then females who enjoy tech.
  • Why is this 'fact' not true in other cultures?
  • Without context both this article and your argument are meaningless. Besides, just because 71% of employees does not mean women are not being given equal opportunities. It could simply be that not as many women apply for positions in the first place. Lies, damn lies and statistics as they say.
  • As I explained below, there are multiple barriers and hinderances to women entering tech here in the west.  I suggest reading and understanding the issue.
  • Uhm... thats just because Women are generally less interested in tech jobs. Less then 15% of the people I study with are women. Having 30+% Women in your Workforce as a Tech Company is quite an accomplishment. Also stop using women to spread your ideas and beliefs, they can speak for themselves and most certainly are not your slaves.
  • Have you ever bothered to ask yourself why it is that fewer women are involved in technology here in the west?  I can guarantee you that it is not the case in other cultures, such as China or India.  Makes you think...
  • Companies don't hire people to fill quota or out of pity. They should hire people who are capable of working. If a woman applies for tech position with very little tech knowledge against a man with far superior tech knowledge, they will hire whoever is more capable.
  • You will be relieved to know that this is exactly what they do!
  • Or they simply aren't interested in computers in the same numbers as men.
  • Do not have equal opportunities? Bullsh*t
  • Do not ever say there is no problem, because there simply is. Unfortunately it is a mindset such as yours which seems to stubbornly remain in many workplaces.
  • Show me the line of women that want a tech jobs because of discrimination. I think in this day, companies want the best person for the job and don't care about color, race or gender. If you focused your energy on being the best at whatever and less time claiming to be a victim I think you might be surprised at how far you get.
  • Thats Sexy.
  • Consider the gender ratio in computer science and engineering majors? I think this is pretty good.
  • Unless of course these women are mostly in sales, marketing, management etc.
  • Exacty, this seems misleading. Sure it's 29% overall, across the entire company, and probably much more than that in places like HR. But it's probably a fraction of that number if you just look at engineering. Although honestly I don't get why people become overly fixated on this. I couldn't care less what my co-workers genders are as long as they are competent.
  • I wouldn't mind working at Microsoft ;)
  • The % is meaningless to me at least. What matters is the Depts in which they work and how much authority they have to get things done. After all, if all soldiers were generals there would be no armed forces.
  • It would be interesting to see stats from MS and others breaking down percentages of women and minorities in technical vs clerical or manufacturing areas.
  • I'm pretty sure if we get the starts on how many men work in the fashion industry we might see the same. Most women are as interested in the tech world as men are interested in the fashion industry.
  • I think you might be surprised at just how many men work in fashion or are interested in it.  I would wager it is not nearly as unbalanced as you believe.  Most of the top fashion brands are male or were founded by males.  Go look at the big names and who founded those companies, what genders dominate their management ranks, and who makes the big decisions.
  • Sir! You've hit the nail on the head!
  • Diversity, another term for racism. To hold a corporation accountable for something that takes an individual to walk through the door in the first place (and who cares what color or gender) is pure stupidity. If a corporation has bad hiring practices, not hiring the best, it will put itself out of business. So, if there is a practice of not hiring someone who is the best based on gender or ethnic background, the corporation won't be worth anything and fail.
  • If only the world were this simplistic.  But its not.
  • What is this common sense you speak?
  • Maybe they laid off a mostly male Nikita staff?
  • Please tell me which company out there has the opposite problem....too many women and not enough men....i want to apply there and see what diversity efforts they are making to get more men in their industry.
  • Ok how about child care? Not a company but an industry. I know of several men whose study is being 'fast tracked' to get them into the workforce sooner, because child care centres need more men.
  • This is bull crap. Hire people for their abilities, dont hire them because their a certain race or gender. That's discrimination.
  • What makes you believe that they are not hiring them for their abilities?  Reporting how many of a given demographic are employed is not the same thing as claiming that you hired various groups simply because of their demographic association.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MKqp_wk-EE
  • Well that was intellectually dishonest.  I would say that its uncommon to see someone abuse statistics and create strawmen so freely, but I've been on the internet from prior to the creation of the WWW, so sadly I know its not.
  • Who cares? I just want the best products possible, and don't care what color skin the makers have.
  • Women care.  It is good information for them to have as they graduate with thier CS degrees to know which companies are the most welcoming.
  • Like it or not, even in 2014 people still have sexist, homophobic & racist prejudices. I know you mean well when you say "who cares" but this isn't the right attitude to adopt (imo at least). Indeed it shouldn't matter but acting like there isn't a problem or neglecting to complain about it won't EVER make it go away. A dismissive reaction though not intended to be harmful only shuts down the dialogue and in so doing actually helps perpetuate discrimination and harmful stereotypes. Bullies will always try to oppress others, labouring under the dellusion that it elevates their own status. This is why it's important to have articles like this and never stop speaking up about ALL injustice. :)
  • Complaining and claiming racism and discrimination when there's not also creates a negative atmosphere. In order for stats like this to be relevant, you need the stats of job applicants. They might have hired, on average, a higher percentage of women when women applied. Lets take a company with one employee, a man, that has a job opening. 10 people apply for the job, 8 men and 2 women. In this particular case, one of the men seems like the best candidate. In your perfect world, should the company hire one of the women to maintain parity or the person that the owner feels best qualified? You have created conditions and measurements that are impossible to satisfy and only serve as something to complain about.
  • You have set up a strawman.  No one is suggesting companies hire anything but the best and the brightest.  And that is indeed what they do.  I have never, ever considered race, gender, culture or country of origin in my hiring decisions.  But afterwards, looking back at all of the candidates I have interviewed, it is more than fair to ask why so few are American women.  Why are there so many well qualified female applicants from India and China, but so few from the United States? One can say "Well american girls don't care about tech" if they want and leave it there.  But as I explained before, that is a pretty short sighted view, and one I am not willing to adopt.
  • If these stats were only used to answer a question like yours, I'd have no problem with them. The problem I have with them is that they drive companies to hire to match some artificial perfect ratio. Tell me that if a large enough company were found that had only hired males, that it wouldn't get sued for discrimination even though they were just hiring the best and they just happened to be males. None of this touches race, but same thing.
  • What I explained is exactly what the data is used for.  Never once in a hiring meeting has someone brought up the candidate's gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or country of origin.  We debate the merits of the candidate and come to a consensus. However you are correct, a company the size of Microsoft found to have only white male employees would likely be sued for discrimination.  The reason for that would not be that they hadn't met the proper quota.  The reason is that its virtually impossible to hire 100,000+ people and not have found many qualified people of other genders and ethnicities.  The discovery phase of the trial would be where the evidence would be gathered and would determine if the case had merit or not, or whether it was the world's biggest coincidence. Of course none of that has to do with the fact that the data given here is not used in the way many people seem to fear.
  • The power of the stiletto! Hotties in control.
  • Uh, that picture of Microsoft building looks familiar. Another WP news site has been using it as the default photo for non-WP Microsoft news.
  • great, ruin MS also, just like the military.  Hire incompetents just for PC nonsense.
  • So in your world women are less competent than men?  Also, as someone who's sister was in Naval Intelligence and who served in Afganistan, are you saying that women have 'ruined' the military?
  • Eh, don't care. I just want the best person for the job. None of this affirmative action or hiring women just to meet a quota and keep the agenda people happy. Just hire the best people you can find, and leave the other factors out of it.
  • Exactly. Affirmative action makes it about those things, the very things we're scolded to avoid as factors.
  • I agree with this.
  • No one hires women or minorities to simply meet a quota.  They hire women because there are very talanted women engineers and many of their customers are female so it is good business sense to have employees who represent a significant portion of your customer base.  It is very difficult to sell to a demographic that you have no understanding of.
  • I'd like to see a deeper breakdown of the numbers. I guarantee you the male female ratio would be much closer in the business development, marketing, legal departments.
  • So what? Are you hiring a gender or who's qualified?
  • Ok so a lot of comments here are that 'women just aren't interested in tech!!!' So here's my two cents.
    I wanted to study software design. I was talked out of it by my two male friends who said it would be really hard for a girl to make it in a male dominated industry. They said 'female minds aren't geared towards tech'. I stewed in my anger and stayed away from that career path. Now, years later, I've been working at a computer company and been asked several times why I didn't ever go into anything more technical than support. My answer? Men talked me out of it and I didn't want to have to face that every day of my life.
    Growing up, boys played computer games and girls painted their nails. Growing up, I was taught boys are better at math and girls are better at language. Now I know otherwise and it's too late to go back and tell people why they were wrong.
    Bottom line - less women are interested in tech because people keep telling us we're no good at technical things. If Microsoft spent some time trying to interest women, women would want to work for them. If people spent less time telling women what women can't do, we'd be interested.
  • Funny thing, I had the exact opposite experience. I have never once been told in my life that I am incapable of doing something because I am female. Instead of listening to your male friends, why didn't you give it a try anyways? You know yourself and capabilities better than anyone. Best way to show a naysayer what's what is to do it.
  • ladydias - While I am thrilled to hear of your experience, I believe it to be the exception rather than the rule.  For the past three years I have interviewed more than 100 candidates for my company, and in that time I have heard a lot of stories about this specific issue.  My company hires about the same percentage of women as Microsoft does, however I will tell you a few things about that number: 1) They are virtually all hired as designers, program managers, HR and marketing 2) The women we do hire into engineering are almost entirely from India and China, where there is no bias against female engineers and no perception that males are better suited for those jobs 3) The american born female engineers we do hire almost all have many, many stories of their advisors trying to talk them out of engineering.  The american born male engineers all have stories of the encouragement they had along the way towards this career path. Combine these factors and what you have is a culture issue, not a preference issue.  I have had extensive discussions with female hires and interns and the stories they tell are remarkably consistent, and based on very old biases that are uniquely western about female capabilities.  As one woman expressed to me "I feel compelled to be the best in my class, the best in the work environment, and while it is always good to be driven it is not good to be driven by the knowledge that if I am anything less than the best I simply will never find employment in my field because I am already considered by default to be inferior to a male in this role."  She pointed out that while there are many 'average' and 'below average' males in engineering jobs, the only women you see are the cream of the crop, to be merely 'average' as a female engineer is to soon find yourself pushed into another role, such as a Technical Program Manager, wheras average male engineers can coast along for years or even decades without it ever being a threat to thier ability to be employed. Ultimately this does need to be addressed.  With the Internet of Things, someone does not have to be 'into tech' for tech to have a significant impact on their lives.  Discouraging half of the population from participating in the modern industrial revolution is a surefire method to maintain inequality for succeeding generations as the infrastructure that they rely on is one that they have little substantial input into.  We can and should do better, at all levels of the career path to invite in all groups who will rely upon the outcome of this sea change.
  • Perhaps it is so. The concept of being told I can't do something because I am female is foreign to me. My parents weren't the type to push that concept on my sisters and I and my mom was the type to go out and build herself a fence if she needed a fence to be built. It might also be a cultural thing since, as you know, in the US we have a great number of cultures with differing views on various subjects. While I have never been told I can do nothing because I am female I do have people outside of my culture who make assumptions about my intelligence based on skin -color. "Oh, you are so articulate," should never be the height of praise. However, putting aside the issue of women in the workplace for a moment, I do have to add in my two cents about Affirmative Action. In theory it was supposed to give more people more opportunities but here in the South there actually are people who try to fill quotas. I have known many cases where a capable employee was let go in favor of someone who was just plain terrible at their job because their skin color or gender (or both because there are some people who love to have all of the minority groups rolled up into one person) did not fulfill the requirements of Affirmative Action. Discrimination is never a good thing but backpedaling to the point that you do so in the other direction is bad as well.
  • In principle I agree with you, but honestly we do not live in an ideal world.  And the south has a bad history with its treatment of minorities and women, which is why Affirmative Action was required.  That said, while I've often heard stories about AA creating hiring decisions, the reality is that I've never seen it documented, and in the few cases where I have seen it claimed, after tracking it down it turned out to be an excuse a business owner used to dismiss someone they wanted to dismiss anyway. I won't claim it has never happened, however given that AA quotas only affect a businesses ability to do certain types of business with the federal government, something most companies are not involved in, quotas have a very, very minor impact on the employment market.
  • Diversity for diversities sake is retarded. Whenever an employer has to put as much stock in a person's personal characteristics instead of their qualifications means that better qualified applicants will get passed over in order to avoid a lawsuit.
  • No one hires women or minorities to avoid a lawsuit.  You cannot be sued for having a company that is 'too white' or 'too male'.  Companies pride themselves on diversity among thier employees because it is a good barometer of their ability to reach out to their potential customers.  If you want to have female customers, having a good number of female employees increases your likelihood of developing products that will appeal to that demographic.  Furthermore it improves the overall talant pool as more young women see successful careers from others of their gender and it encourages them to also pursue that field, increasing the overall level of talant, something critical in a fast growing industry.   Its purely a business decision, and a pretty smart one too.
  • Nice!
  • I never understand this diversity thing... Is it so bad in America that even Microsoft has to make a press release out of it? Companies choose people for their capabilities, just hiring to "please" a group will be disastrous in competency... Does it have to 50:50 male/female? Wait, don't forget the race card, Microsoft doesn't want to be a racist company right? Or how about the LGBT crowd? Surely Microsoft is an open minded company. It's a vicious cycle. Stop the PR work and focus on the product side. 
  • Many companies are issuing diversity report cards lately, this is a positive trend for a number of reasons, many of which I have listed elsewhere in this thread.  Their report also includes race.  Microsoft is very inclusive of LGBTQ as well, so they really have nothing to worry about there. There is nothing 'vicious' about this.  It is a business decision.  By publishing these numbers Microsoft is both making it clear that people who represent a broad swatch of the population as a whole are well represented inside the company, while also making an advertising pitch to potential employees who can make good career decisions by paying attention to whether an employer is potentially inclusive or hostile to people in thier demographic. 
  • Wrong comment to reply to.  ;)
  • David, your the problem.... You see race and gender and perceive problems that have nothing to do with it. Nice try putting your b.s. all over the thread to intimidate people. The truth is the best companies will hire the best people and receive the most success.
  • 1) As I stated, the best companies DO hire the best people.  Reporting the makup of thier workforce after the fact in no way implies they hire people because of ethnicity or gender. 2) Why do you find explanations from someone who does actual hiring for a major tech company to be 'intimidating'? 3) If I could not see gender, it sure could make my dating life awkward....  ;)
  • Maybe it's me, but lack of an exact 50/50 doesn't imply discrimination.  If I were a CEO, I'd simply say "We hire based on their skills, not anything else."  I'd even try to setup double blind interviews, as in a text chat both ways, that way the interviewer can't tell what the interviewee is, and the interviewee can't tell what the interviewer is.  I don't get why this is "work that needs to be done".  This is "positive-discrimination" at it's finest.  If fewer women/minorities go in to tech majors, why not fix that, as opposed to basically guaranteeing that any woman/minority in said major gets a job at the expense of someone who happens to be better, but also happens to be a white male?   p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 120%; }a:link { } Edit:  I see your above comments, and get why they did this.  Mainly because everyone else is, and Microsoft isn't in a position to make a stance on "We hire based on their skills".  But my point is, I don't like how it's basically all but saying "We don't necessarily hire the best, we weigh their gender/orientation too so we can make sure we have a higher percentage than other companies." Not sure if it needs stating, but I have 0 problem with any minority, nor any gender/orientation. I don't think the tech sector as a whole does either, and these reports seem to say they do.  As in if a trans-gendered Hawaiian who got all C's in her classes was denied the job and it was given to a white guy with straight A's, is that wrong?  According to the people who like these reports it could be.
  • It is illegal to take gender or ethnicity into consideration in hiring.  None of the companies publishing this report are claiming that they hire on that basis.  They are analyzing the workforce that their hiring practices produce, and tweaking thier process to make certain they have a broad base of employees representative of the world that they operate in as that is the easiest way to make thier products and services appeal to the widest possible demographic. Every single one of these companies tries to hire the best and the brightest regardless of gender/ethnicity/orientation.  Their point here really is that there is no biological reason that there are not as many women capable of advanced engineering as there are men, so if that is not reflected in thier employee base it means that they have failed to hire and develop the best.  Part of how to approach this is to make certain that they are active in women in engineering conferences, provide scholarships to deserving women, actively recruit and advertise to female IT grads, make certain their corporate culture is as inviting to women as it is to men, and many, many other initiatives. Ignoring half of your potential workforce, including all of the truly elite talents, is suicide for a company living in a country with universal suffrage.
  • What's "pcerent"?
  • Incoming feminists
  • The good news is that many of us men are feminists these days.  ;)