Microsoft publishes disappointing diversity report

by Nicola Middlemiss03 Dec 2015
Despite dedicated initiatives aimed at getting more women on board, it seems Microsoft’s efforts are failing – in fact, the tech giant confirmed in its most recent diversity report that there are actually less women in its global workforce compared to last year.

“We are not satisfied with where we are today regarding the percentage of women in our workforce,” insisted Gwen Houston, Microsoft’s general manager of global diversity and inclusion.

“Our senior leaders continue to be deeply committed to doing everything possible to improve these numbers,” she added.

Women now make up just 26.8% of the company’s total workforce, a small but undeniable drop from 29% in 2014.

Over the past twelve months, Microsoft has implemented a number of initiatives aimed at increasing women’s presence in the company’s workforce, including establishing employee resource groups and employee networks.

The groups are intended to help support career development, community participation, cultural awareness, networking opportunities, mentoring, and product input.

Specific programs include community service, development conferences, heritage celebrations, scholarship programs, and speaker series.

Houston explained in the report that the decline was due to layoffs made during the restructuring of phone business Nokia, which Microsoft acquired last year.

As part of the restructuring, many manufacturing jobs based outside of the US were eliminated – most of which were held by women.

While the lay-offs may have muddied the water, improvements can be detected elsewhere in the Microsoft workforce.

Women now make up 27.7% of the senior leadership team – the highest it has ever been.

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