Microsoft held its annual shareholders conference today, and the company CEO Satya Nadella took pride in efforts made to achieve Diversity in Tech. Nadella reiterated about Microsoft’s appointment of two women to its board of directors last year.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) December 2, 2015
However, Nadella admitted that Microsoft and the Tech Industry, in general, needs to do more as far as Diversity in Tech goes. A view he shares with Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Rev. Jesse Jackson, who had the following to say about the Redmond Tech Company during the shareholders meeting: “We now urge Microsoft to actively seek out qualified Blacks and Latinos for your next appointments, and want to work with you to identify Board leaders for the future.” The Rainbow PUSH Coalition did a survey last year that revealed there were only Black people and one Hispanic person sitting on the board of directors of 20 leading tech companies. With Apple’s appointment of James Bell to its board in October 2015, the number of Black people rose to four. On its part, Microsoft has only one Black person on its board of directors, John Thompson.
Jackson argues, “The tech industry has made very little, if any, progress in cracking the code to transform the character and composition of their workforces, to break with old patterns of exclusion and overcome the 2% workforce dilemma.
The status quo is unacceptable, and Rainbow PUSH will continue to apply the challenge and industry-wide positive pressure. We will continue the PUSH for real change, and insist that companies set measurable goals, targets and timetables to move the needle.”
In response to Jackson’s remarks, Nadella said Microsoft is very committed on achieving diversity. Giving examples of how the company is deploying an unconscious bias training to its employees, its accelerator programs for entrepreneurs from minority backgrounds and the company’s supplier programs.
The most recent report on diversity at Microsoft reveals males make up 73.1% of the workforce, made up of 59.2% White, 5.4% Hispanic and 3.5% Black. Microsoft evidently made progress in bringing more diversity as far as achieving racial balance is concerned, but women remain largely underrepresented.