The Intel Foundation has made a $1 million grant to the International Rescue Committee to retrain 1,000 refugees in Germany for jobs in the tech sector through a program called Project CORE (Creating Opportunities for Refugee Employment), Ben Paynter reports at Fast Company:
In general, the training program will have several tracks that allow trainees to first gain the sort of basic skills they may need to gain entry-level jobs, (and immediate income) in data entry, programming, and IT work. Then, many will hopefully move on to advance their education through other services that will be offered. …
Trainees won’t necessarily be limited to just Germany-based jobs either. Having strong computer skills means that refugees who have other commitments at home or need flexible hours can join international companies or the gig economy. Even if no one worked remote, though, there are enough jobs for everyone in Germany. IRC and Intel have studied the country’s economy and, unlike resettlement areas in Jordan, there’s a booming tech sector that’s hungry for new employees.
Germany has taken in more than 1.5 million refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan since 2015. The lack of stable work for these refugees, many of whom are young men, has contributed to high levels of unemployment within the refugee community as well as a relatively high incidence of violent crime. If it proves successful, Project CORE could go a long way toward improving the quality of life for Germany’s refugees and their families, in addition to helping address the talent shortage in the European tech sector.
In January 2015, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich unveiled an ambitious diversity and inclusion initiative, announcing that the company was allocating $300 million toward a plan to achieve “full representation”—meaning that Intel’s US workforce should be at least as diverse as that of the United States as a whole—by 2020. On Tuesday, the tech giant released its mid-year diversity report for 2017, showing where that effort stands halfway to its deadline. Like its past few reports, this one shows Intel making progress, albeit slowly and unevenly, toward its goals. While the raw percentages appear to show little progress—Women’s representation in all roles increased 0.3 percent over last year, but representation among underrepresented minorities remained fairly static—Krzanich says the company is now on track to meet its goal of “full representation” by 2018 instead of 2020, Lydia Dishman reports at Fast Company:
It’s important to note that full representation means that Intel’s target is “market availability,” which measures how many skilled people exist in the external U.S. labor market (drawn from multiple sources, including university graduation data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau) as well as Intel’s own internal market. That means the company is tracking its efforts in hiring, retention, and progression for every job category–both technical and nontechnical–for women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
As such, there have been some positive gains since December of 2014 when the gap to full representation was 2,300 employees. Today among about 55,000 employees in the U.S., that gap is down to 801 people, an improvement of 65%.
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Intel’s 2016 diversity report touts a number of big and small gains the chip manufacturer has made in diversity and inclusion over the past year, including a diverse hiring ratio of 45.1 percent, improvements in women’s representation, and closing pay gaps both between men and women and between white and underrepresented minority employees. In last year’s report, which showed modest progress in other areas, Intel announced that it had analyzed the compensation of its US employees and found no gender pay gap; this year, the company says it achieved “100 percent pay parity for both women and underrepresented minorities and achieved promotion parity for females and underrepresented minorities as well.”
In a blog post about the report, Intel’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Danielle Brown highlights some of the diversity initiatives the company launched in the past year, including WarmLine, which she describes as “a service that provides a support channel for U.S. employees to explore different options with a personal advisor before they consider leaving the company.” As critics noted in response to last year’s report, while Intel had done a good job improving the reach of its recruiting efforts and bringing more women and minorities into the company, many of these diverse new hires do not last long at the company. WarmLine, Brown explains to Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman, is a response to the challenge of matching diversity recruiting with diversity retention—an area where Intel admittedly still has work to do:
The executive order issued by President Trump on Friday, which temporarily barred refugees and citizens of seven designated countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—from entering the US, has been met with some criticism from the ranks of America’s corporate leaders. In statements to employees and to the press, many CEOs have expressed concern that either the order itself or the new administration’s more restrictive approach to immigration in general will be disruptive to business and harmful to their ability to hire and retain talent, as well as their diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Washington Post’s Jena McGregor gives an overview of corporate America’s reaction to the president’s polarizing order:
“Employees do hold their CEOs and leadership accountable for defending those values when the line has been crossed,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber-Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist. After years of communicating and focusing on diversity and inclusion as a corporate value, she says, CEOs “do feel under a lot of pressure right now, and are trying to figure out what to say about Trump’s ban and how to speak to their employees. They’ve set a high bar and an expectation that diversity really matters. That is adding a lot of firepower to getting CEOs to speak up.”
Some of the statements from CEOs have included not only concerns but personal reflections. “I am deeply concerned, as many of you are, with this fracture in our society,” wrote MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, who was born in India. “I am an immigrant into this wonderful country. I came here midway through my career and have over the past years made this my home and pledged my allegiance to all that the Constitution stands for.” …
Intel has released its mid-year diversity report for 2016, showing scant improvement over its 2015 annual report. USA Today has the figures:
Currently, Intel is 53% white and 32% Asian, a skew that is generally reflective of tech companies – from Google and Apple to small startups — as they continue to grapple with the challenge of creating a workforce that better reflects the U.S. population. … Among the key findings in Intel’s latest report: female employees inched up to 25.4% from 24.8% in December 2015, while underrepresented minorities (URMs) decreased slightly to 12.3% from 12.4%. Among URMs, African-American staffing increased to 3.7% from 3.5%, while Hispanics dropped to 8% from 8.4%. …
On the hiring front, Intel’s efforts remained flat with women and minorities accounting for 43.4% of all hires, compared to 43.1% in December. Of that 43.4%, 13.1% were URMs, a notable jump from the 9% figure logged in December 2014. The company also said it was at 99% pay equity for URMs. Gender pay equity is at 100%.
Women in senior company positions grew to 18.2% from 16.5% six months ago, while those in leadership positions also increased slightly to 18.7% from 17.6%. URM representation in senior positions inched up to 6.4% from 5.8%, while those in leadership roles hit 6.9% from 6.3%. Intel also announced it had added a second woman to its board of directors, University of California at Berkeley electrical engineering professor Tsu-Jae King Liu.
Intel is not unique among big tech firms in having trouble making progress on diversity and inclusion: Facebook came in for public criticism last month when it attempted to explain a lack of progress on the “pipeline problem”—i.e., a lack of qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Apple’s diversity report that came out last week showed modest gains, but critics noted that its leadership remains heavily white and mail. Then again, deficits in leadership diversity are a common problem throughout the industry. Apple, like Intel, touted the progress it has made in closing pay gaps between women and men and between white and nonwhite employees.
The chip giant announced on Tuesday that it was cutting 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its global workforce, “as it refocuses its business towards making microchips that power data centers and Internet connected devices and away from the declining personal computer industry it helped found,” Reuters reports:
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, lowered its revenue forecast for the year. It now expects revenue to rise in mid-single digits, down from its previous forecast of mid- to high-single digits. Intel’s shares were down 2.6 percent at $30.78 in extended trading. The company also said Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith will move to a new role leading sales, manufacturing and operations. Intel said it would begin a formal search process for a successor.
“The need for a massive restructuring follows a series of bad calls,” Quartz’s Michael J. Coren explains:
The company sat out the mobile revolution after building mobile chip lines for RIM’s BlackBerry in 1999, and then the Palm Treo in 2004. Intel then passed on Apple’s offer to build chips for the iPhone in 2006 over profitability worries. That drove Apple to ARM, now the dominant mobile chip maker and one of Intel’s biggest competitors. Later, its attempt to sell high-end “ultrabooks” with Microsoft—basically expensive notebooks to rival the Macbook Air—failed to take off. It didn’t try to regain its foothold in the mobile market until 2014.
Instead, Intel bet on its core business: high-end, expensive chips for PCs. It dominated that industry for 20 years by running a profitable duopoly with Microsoft, supplying chips for Windows PCs. The company also invested heavily in multi-billion dollar factories and new designs that ensured it was always 12 to 24 months ahead of the rest of the competition. That competitive advantage no longer exists.
However, as Cade Metz points out at Wired, Intel does retain a competitive edge in cloud computing:
Salesforce HQ in California (Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com)
Last November, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced that his organization had spent $3 million assessing and closing pay gaps between its male and female employees. In a blog post published on Tuesday, Salesforce’s EVP of Global Employee Success Cindy Robbins released more details of the assessment, including that 6 percent of the company’s 17,000 employees (or about 1,000 people) had received salary adjustments, and that “roughly the same number of women and men were impacted.” Robbins also touted some other activities Salesforce had undertaken to make itself more inclusive of women and minorities:
To build a more diverse workforce, we’ve doubled down on our community outreach efforts to nonprofits and educational groups focused on diversity in tech, added more diverse schools to our recruiting efforts, and increased our support for STEM education initiatives that touch diverse populations. We’ve also increased access to advancement opportunities through the High-Potential Leadership Program, which is designed to provide leadership skills to advance women in the workplace. The program has led to a 33 percent increase in the number of women who were promoted last year.
In the last year, Salesforce has increased parental leave to 12 weeks off at 80% of total pay, including base and bonuses. The company also introduced a new gradual return program which offers new parents the flexibility to work reduced hours for the first four consecutive weeks of returning to work, at full pay.