Growing up in a military family, mostly in California, I would consider my cultural diversity life experience to be more than most. I remember in the 1960s some older folks were chattering about a colored family moving into our neighborhood and they had a son my age. Imagine my excitement as a child in having a multicolored friend! As it turns out he was only one color but we were fast friends anyway.
The other diversity experience I had growing up was with my mother. She wanted to be a mechanical engineer but that was a challenge for women in the 1950s and even more so after having children. She ended up being a draftsperson for a NASA contractor. I remember visiting her at work and getting some very cool Apollo NASA stickers and gifts. The other thing I remember is that all of the drafts people were women which seemed kind of odd to a young mind. Clearly I was never going to be a draftsperson because you had to be a woman so I decided to be an astronaut because those were all men.
My mother’s theme song was “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” from Annie Get Your Gun and that was the way she lived. She bowled in the PWBA when it first started and was a full on pool hustler. Her final job was at LAM Research, testing semiconductor equipment in Fremont. She really was a Rosie the Riveter of her era.
For my undergraduate degree I attended a University in Northern California that had nursing and teaching programs so the female to male ratio was higher than most but still the engineering classes were male dominant. There were some women in computer programming classes but hardware classes were again all men.
When I joined the semiconductor industry in the 1980s it was not diverse at all up until the fabless semiconductor transformation in the 1990s. Yet another thing we can thank Morris Chang and TSMC for. Today I would say the semiconductor industry is diverse (as compared to other technology based industries) and that diversity really is the core strength of the semiconductor ecosystem, absolutely.
The semiconductor diversity exception is a few old school IDMs lagging behind which brings us to Intel.
In 2015 Intel announced a Diversity in Technology initiative, committing $300M to accelerate diversity inside Intel. I guess I wasn’t shocked when I saw the diversity slides based on my personal experience with Intel but spending $300M for a quick fix to a years long problem seemed puzzling at the time. You can see the 2015 slides HERE. Intel released a diversity update claiming “full representation” in its workforce two years ahead of schedule. You can see the 2018 slides HERE:
And here is the updated Intel diversity blurb:
A diverse workforce and inclusive culture are key to Intel’s evolution and they are the driving forces of our growth. In addition to being the right things to do, they are also business imperatives. If we want to shape the future of technology, we must be representative of that future. In January 2015, Intel announced the Diversity in Technology initiative, setting a bold hiring and retention goal to achieve full representation of women and underrepresented minorities in Intel’s U.S. workforce by 2020. The company also committed $300 million to support this goal and accelerate diversity and inclusion – not just at Intel, but across the technology industry. The scope of Intel’s efforts span the value chain, from spending with diverse suppliers and diversifying its venture portfolio to better serving its markets and communities through innovative programs. Intel achieved its goal of full representation in its U.S. workforce in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. This achievement was the result of a comprehensive strategy that took into account hiring, retention and progression. However, Intel’s work does not stop here. We continue to foster an inclusive culture where employees can bring their full experiences and authentic selves to work.
So, let’s congratulate Intel on their diversity achievement. Hopefully now they can hire and retain the most qualified people without bias as to race or sex. Hey, wait, what about age diversity?