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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 3, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Percentage of women in Microsoft’s workforce jumps from 24 percent to 29 percent

Microsoft has released some new diversity statistics and among them is this notable figure:  The percentage of women in its global workforce  jumped to 29 percent in the past year, after several years of remaining stubbornly flat at 24 percent.

Though that’s a big jump for Microsoft, that almost puts it on par with the percentage of female employees at Google with 30 percent, Facebook with 31 percent, Twitter with 30 percent, and Apple with 30 percent.

The percentage of women in tech positions at Microsoft stands at 17.1 percent; the percentage in leadership positions at 17.3 percent.

There’s been increased focus lately on diversity in tech, with a lot of the attention focused on the lack of women working in the field.

Tech companies have started disclosing more of their diversity statistics. Microsoft, which has disclosed some of its diversity data publicly since 2006, has put together an updated website with new workplace demographic data and information on its diversity programs.

Microsoft declined to explicitly say to what it attributes the jump in the overall percentage of women in its workforce. Rather, the company pointed to an email sent to all employees by Lisa Brummel, head of human resources.

In the email, Brummel talked about the programs the company has supported to reach more youths, including girls.

“The pipeline we invested in years ago is now coming back to us – a result every company strives for,” she wrote. “It is a slow process, but we are seeing momentum from our efforts.”

Microsoft also disclosed ethnicity data for its employees in the U.S. Those figures break down to 60.6 percent Caucasian, 28.9 percent Asian, 5.1 percent Hispanic, 3.5 percent African American, 1.2 percent multi-racial, 0.5 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.3 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

The data is through Sept. 30, so includes the Nokia acquisition and subsequent layoffs at Microsoft.

In her email to employees, Brummel noted:

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…. 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.

Here are some charts on the gender and ethnicity breakdowns for some of the big tech companies, based on the companies’ publicly disclosed data:





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