- While Microsoft has made its demographic data public for years, numbers don't always demonstrate gender and race gaps well. In an effort to provide a better snapshot of representation, the company has for the first time released a report that shows those gaps by employee level — executive, director, manager, individual contributor — and setting.
- Women account for about 29% of Microsoft's workforce, for example, but have the most representation in its retail setting, it revealed in a first-of-its-kind diversity report. And while the company reported nearly 63% growth in director positions held by black employees and 46% growth in director positions held by Hispanic employees, members of those groups still hold only 2.5% and 4.7% of such positions, respectively.
- Notably, Microsoft said its population growths of women globally and of racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. have each grown at faster rates than its overall population growth. Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, the Microsoft's chief diversity officer, said in a statement that the company remains committed to further improvement and called on competitors and business partners to do the same.
Few of Microsoft's peers have worked to separate out managerial positions from individual contributors to better examine who gets promoted across the organization — at least publicly, Fortune noted in its analysis of the report. Previous surveys by other groups show why this matters: Respondents in an IBM study from earlier this year said they believe progress has been slow in moving women into leadership roles because doing so isn't a priority. In fact, the study concluded that women won't gain parity with men in leadership roles until 2073 unless more is done to bridge the gap deliberately.
CEOs and senior executives have pledged commitments to diversity and inclusion in scores of studies. But according to participants in the American Bar Association's 13th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, mid-level managers can hinder efforts. To ignite managers' commitment, presenters recommended that organizations make it clear to managers that their success is tied to their support for and advancement of D&I initiatives and present managers with hard data on why D&I is necessary.
Various analyses have shown, for example, that diversity is good for the bottom line. According to analysts at The Wall Street Journal, the 20 most diverse S&P companies performed better than their non-diverse peers over five- and ten-year periods. "A diverse team supported by an inclusive environment that values each individual will outperform a homogenous team every time," David Taylor, P&G’s CEO, president and chairman, told the Journal.