One of the more interesting announcements by Intel at CES was surprisingly not about technology, it was about a $300M Investing in Diversity and Inclusion initiative. According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich “A fully diverse and inclusive workplace is fundamental to our ability to innovate and deliver business results.” After being overwhelmed with technology last week this was a welcome diversion so I did a little more digging into this somewhat controversial topic.
California is truly a melting pot of cultural diversity but when I started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1980s it was very white. The company I worked for (Data General) was based in Massachusetts but had a fab in Sunnyvale. In fact, DG was founded the same year as Intel. In my experience it really wasn’t until the emergence of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem that diversity came to Silicon Valley. Semiconductor design was no longer controlled by the big IDMs so anybody from any part of the world could start a fabless semiconductor company and they did. The fabless semiconductor ecosystem brought even more diversity with hundreds if not thousands of start-up companies coming and going (EDA software, semiconductor IP, design services, etcetera). And with that came incredible strength because Brian Krzanich is right, continued semiconductor innovation requires diversity, absolutely.
Given that evolution, the question I have is: Why does Intel have to invest $300M in diversification and inclusion? The answer is in the 2013 Intel Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Report (the EEOC enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination). According to Intel 57,000 out of 100,000+ employees are based in the U.S. with this illustrated diversity:
Intel management is even less diverse: White men and women hold 156 of 187 (84%) of the executive and senior management positions. Certainly most people in Silicon Valley know this and it is not an “Intel only” problem. I’m guessing it is a somewhat common problem with U.S. companies founded in the 1960s. I do however greatly appreciate that Brian Krzanich publicly acknowledged this challenge, especially in a worldwide forum such as CES.
You can see the Intel Global Diversity and Inclusion landing page HERE. Intel even has a Chief Diversity Officer (Rosalind Hundell) who is a 19 year Intel employee. According to her bio Rosalind was appointed Director of Diversity in 2004 and is now also Vice President of Human Resources:
“What an exciting time for our industry and our company. Candid discussions about the state of diversity build the foundation for real change in the technology sector. Recent media attention has given us a moment to pause and reflect on Intel’s own diversity journey.”
Considering that she has been at this since 2004 I’m wondering what the Intel diversity ratio was back when she started versus what it is today. I could not find the 2004 Intel Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Report. If someone else can, please post it in the comments section and I will include it. Or maybe someone from Intel can help with this? Transparency is your friend. I also sent Rosalind a LinkedIn invitation so let’s see where that goes.