More women are being hired in the tech industry but still, the percentage has a long way to go.
Women’s presence and their role in the global tech world have always been a sensitive issue, subject to regular debates. There is a general idea that more women, who have significant knowledge and skill to compete with their male counterparts, need to take part and assert themselves in the skewed balance enforced by male dominance. But it seems that the issue has greater twists to it than is thought of. The case of Intel is a relevant example, which can be cited. It has hired more women than before in tech jobs, 26,000 women workers, and 1449 in leadership roles, the latter figure surpasses its goal of 1375. But the percentage shows a different picture. But it finds itself in the peculiar position of having less percentage of women on the list than earlier. The fact is revealed in the Diversity and Inclusion Data in Intel’s Corporate Responsibility Report.
The percentage of women in tech roles in the company has marked a decline from 25.2% to 24.3% during the period 2020-2021. Apparently, the decline is approximately 1% but that is not in any way comforting to the management. It is not just because in terms of numbers, it is substantial but also because in 2020 it had made known its goal of bringing the percentage of women in tech jobs to 40 by 2030. It was an impressive target because other Big Tech firms like Google, Facebook (Meta), and Apple have hovered around 24% to 25%, which was quite distant from even 30%, not to mention the high aspiration of attaining the 40% figure.
In a related estimate, Intel’s percentage of women in a leadership role has faced a marginal slide from 18.8% to 18.7%. Being serious about the developments, it seems Intel is not sitting back. Its Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dawn Jones, has come up with a set of questions: i) Is it that we are not getting the resumes? ii) Is it that we’re not getting the interest? and iii) if we’re not getting the interest, why? Going deeper into the issue, he also seeks to probe if it is the question of ‘culture’ or ‘location’ or ‘flexibility’ (or lack of it in working hours). What Intel also has in mind is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented quit rates which has led to the phenomenon of “great resignation”. Intel also contemplates the introduction of hybrid workplaces more rigorously to bring more women into its domain. It also has the Returnship Programme, which aims to bring back women who have left the company. All these efforts can be traced to Intel’s stance on “being inclusive” on the basis of a multidimensional rubric. It has advancing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the global workforce, and advocated for public policies and laws that combat discrimination and inequities impacting its employees and communities. The aforementioned report also mentions that Intel intends to start targeted programs to increase the number of women hired for technician, engineering hardware, and software roles through sourcing, pipelining, and workforce development initiatives. In addition, it also sets a goal that it is hiring for technical entry-level roles is at least 30% for women.
There is no doubt that a greater percentage of women in the tech workforce is needed to make the tech world more inclusive with diversity in human capital. Intel has earned wide appreciation for being transparent about its data and showing an urge for accountability by addressing the problem. In another way, the case may also serve as an alert to other tech companies. While Intel is compelled to adopt post-facto measures, other companies may take notice of it before it happens and adopt measures to pre-empt such development.