Intel is seeking to diversify its workforce by 2020, and the firm is working aggressively toward this goal. Like many other tech firms, the chip maker has been criticized for huge disparities in the hiring of women and minorities, and Intel is pledging $300 million to correct the problem. No other technology company has made such a huge investment in diversity to date.
Intel doing the ‘right’ thing
The announcement about improving diversity was made on Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by the Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. His focus during the speech was entirely on ‘inclusion,’ and he believed that this word is important to bring a change in the technology industry.
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“It’s time to step up and do more. It’s not good enough to say we value diversity,” Krzanich said, and added “This isn’t just good business. This is the right thing to do,” he said.
According to Intel, the $300 million fund will be used to develop a pipeline of female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists. The chip maker also plans to fund programs promoting women and minorities in the technology and gaming industries.
Krzanich is staking his leadership to increase workforce diversity, and is among the few technology company CEOs who is really taking the initiative.
Jackson applauds Intel’s efforts
The ‘parity 2020’ initiative discussed by the Intel CEO was applauded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who attended the keynote address in the first row itself. Jackson calls this a bold and the first ‘huge’ step. Technology companies have long been accused of disparities in hiring. Jackson asks other tech firms to sign the ‘parity pledge’ to eliminate racial discrimination by adding more black, women and Hispanic in the industry.
The diversity problem in Silicon Valley is a a bog deal, and the announcement from Intel comes at the right time. The data shows that the workforce is largely comprised of white and Asian men. Many leading tech firms released their workforce diversity data in 2014, revealing lack of African Americans, Hispanics and women in the workforce. Minority groups only accounted for 5% of the workforce of tech companies, compared to 14% in businesses of all types nationwide.