Susan Medina and Peter Gomez recently contributed the following article to Workforce Magazine.
Like several Silicon Valley counterparts, tech giant Intel last year went public with its lack of employee diversity. The company is openly sharing its efforts to correct the problem. In an interview with NPR, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich discussed his company’s diversity initiatives and concluded that the “pipeline problem,” or the idea that there aren’t enough qualified diverse candidates, is overhyped, saying, “If the pipeline was such a big problem, I would have come back as a failure.”
It’s true the pipeline problem is somewhat improving — at least at the entry level — for companies like Intel that have the budget to invest in targeted recruitment programs. As more companies formalize diversity initiatives, partner with educational institutions and community organizations, and train their hiring managers on the effects of unconscious bias, they will be able to bring in more diverse talent in their junior and mid-level ranks. For example, Apple reported a 50 percent increase in the number of African-Americans hired in 2015 compared to 2014, and a 66 percent increase in Hispanics.
But this improvement is not producing greater diversity representation in the C-suite. In 2014, only 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs were minorities, and only 5 percent were women. Move down the corporate ladder into the executive ranks and the percentages do not improve. According to DiversityInc, Hispanics make up less than 4 percent of senior management in U.S. companies. African-Americans make up less than 3 percent, and Catalyst reports that women of color are virtually absent at the senior-level and above in S&P 500 companies.
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