Microsoft published its most comprehensive report yet on diversity and inclusion Tuesday morning, including an “Inclusion Index” indicating that 88 percent of the company’s employees express positive sentiments in areas such as their ability to be authentic and feel a sense of belonging at work, and their belief in the company’s commitment to diversity.
The newly disclosed statistic reflects a broader push at Microsoft and in the tech industry to not just increase workforce diversity but to ensure an inclusive and accepting culture, as well. With the new measure, and additional details about equal pay and executive diversity, Microsoft is going beyond what many others in the industry report.
Microsoft previously tracked the Inclusion Index internally. However, the company declined GeekWire’s request to disclose numbers from prior years for context, or to indicate generally whether the trend is up or down. The company began collecting the data in 2017 but waited to share the Inclusion Index publicly until it could affirm the validity of the measure this year.
“The Inclusion Index is the internal way in which we listen to what our employees are telling us and gather sentiment about what it feels like to work at Microsoft,” said Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Microsoft’s chief diversity officer, in an interview. “We want employees to bring their diverse experiences and diverse perspectives, but we have to put that diversity to work. The inclusion index allows us to understand how we’re doing and how we can do better.”
In areas where prior years’ results were disclosed, Microsoft’s diversity numbers showed progress on a number of fronts.
- The percentage of women at Microsoft rose by 1.1 points to 27.6 percent over the past year. Women at Microsoft in tech roles rose 1.4 points to 21.4 percent. Women in executive roles rose 1.4 points to 19.3 percent, the report says.
- All of the above statistics exclude what Microsoft calls “minimally integrated businesses,” companies acquired by Microsoft, such as LinkedIn and GitHub. When including those companies, the percentage of women at Microsoft was up 1.2 points to 29.2 percent.
- Excluding acquired businesses, Microsoft reported a 17.3 percent increase in its total number of African American/Black employees over the past year (now representing 4.5 percent of the Microsoft workforce) and a 12.5 percent increase in the number of Hispanic/Latinx employees (now 6.3 percent of the workforce), outpacing the 3.2 percent increase in its total number of white employees over the same time period (now representing 53.2 percent of the Microsoft workforce).
- Addressing the issue of equal pay, as of September 2019, Microsoft racial and ethnic minority employees in the U.S. made $1.006 for every $1 earned by their white counterparts, and women made $1.001 for every $1 earned by their male counterparts, the company said.
On the representation of women in its workforce, Microsoft remains behind some of its peers in the industry. Google, by comparison, reported this year that 33.2 percent of its workforce is women. Facebook says 36.9 percent of its workforce is women. Women make up 41.7 percent of Amazon’s workforce.
“We really just compare to ourselves,” McIntyre said. “It’s the voices and the experience of our own employees and the bar that we have for ourselves that we are accountable to. We know that there are other companies that are working hard, as well, and we are focused on our journey.”
Microsoft has implemented a series of internal programs, partnerships and practices designed to improve diversity and inclusion, as detailed in its report.
Earlier this year, in an extensive email thread reported by Quartz, women at Microsoft documented incidents of harassment and discrimination, and the company’s responses to their complaints. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella subsequently announced an overhaul in how Microsoft pursues investigations of employee misconduct, in addition to new training for the company’s managers.
In a recent interview with GeekWire, Nadella said he measures the company’s progress by the difference between its the espoused set of values and the lived experience of its employees.
“I think it’s an unfinished journey,” he said. “That’s why I don’t celebrate some destination that we’ve reached as far as our culture. And even a single employee’s experience not being what we espouse is something that we have to address.”