Technology Industry Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Progress Report

How are the technology industry and Silicon Valley addressing workforce diversity, equity and inclusion? Check this ChannelE2E blog for ongoing updates. We track market research, corporate policies, key DEI leaders, and initiatives designed to address social equality across:

  • education and access to opportunity;
  • recruiting and hiring practices;
  • compensation;
  • community support;
  • career development;
  • staff retention;
  • executive leadership; and
  • much more.

Note: Blog originally published June 18, 2020. Ongoing updates thereafter. If you have an update to share, please email details to ChannelE2E Editorial Director Joe Panettieri ([email protected]).

Activision Blizzard: The video game company has hired a law firm to investigate complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace. The announcement came hours before a planned employee walkout over the company’s reaction to allegations made in a recent lawsuit. Source: The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2021.

Adobe: The company recaps its diversity and inclusion efforts here. Source: Adobe, April 20, 2021.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Alphabet and Google: Multiple updates…

  • Google announced a new hiring goal and security policy to address racial issues at its offices. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that by 2025, the company aims to have 30% more of its leaders be from underrepresented groups. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders are white or Asian, and 73% globally are men. Source: Reuters, June 18, 2020.
  • Google and parent company Alphabet Inc. are committing more than $175 million to advance Black businesses and entrepreneurs and are moving toward increasing representation of people of color in their leadership ranks. Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal, June 17, 2020.

  • More than 1,100 Google employees circulated a petition internally, calling for Google to end police contracts. The letter tells the company to “take real steps to dismantle racism” by cutting off business contracts with agencies. Source: CNBC, June 22, 2020.
  • Four female former employees of Google are trying to persuade a state court to let them represent more than 10,000 peers in a gender-pay disparity suit against the company, setting the stage for the next big battle over class-action status. Google denies the allegations. Source: Bloomberg, July 21, 2020.
  • Alphabet is proposing to tap the bond market at rock bottom yields, in a rare debt sale that will help combat racial inequality, among other sustainability projects. The parent company of Google is looking to fund organizations that support Black entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses impacted by Covid-19, as well as affordable housing, among other eligible proceeds listed in bond documents. Source: Bloomberg, August 3, 2020.
  • Google reassigned one of the leaders of its diversity team after antisemitic comments from a blog post he had written in 2007 resurfaced in early June 2021. Source: Cnet, June 3, 2021.
  • Google plans to shut down a long-running program aimed at entry-level engineers from underrepresented backgrounds after participants said it enforced “systemic pay inequities.” Source: Reuters, June 22, 2021.

Beth Galetti, senior VP, people eXperience and technology, Amazon

Alicia Boler Davis, VP of global customer fulfillment, Amazon

Amazon: Multiple updates…

  • Amazon has added the first Black member to its prestigious S-team, a group of executives that advises CEO Jeff Bezos. Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment, is joining the S-team — along with John Felton and Dave Treadwell — as consumer chief Jeff Wilke departs the company. Boler Davis joined Amazon last year after serving as a top lieutenant at GM. Source: Business Insider, August 21, 2020.
  • Amazon was sued for allegedly discriminating against Black and female workers in hiring employees for its corporate offices. The lawsuit, filed March 1, 2021 in federal court in Washington, alleges that Amazon hires people of color “at lower levels” and promotes them less than White co-workers with similar qualifications. The claims include discrimination and harassment as well as violations of the Equal Pay Act. Amazon didn’t respond to emails seeking comment on the suit. Source: Bloomberg, March 1, 2021.
  • Amazon vowed to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across its business. Senior VP Beth Galetti described Amazon’s progress on DEI in 2020, and new Amazon DEI goals for 2021. Moreover, Amazon pledged to in crease the amount amount and specificity of data the company shares publicly on Source: Amazon, April 14, 2021.
  • Amazon plans to investigate allegations of discrimination and bias within its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud business after an employee petition criticizing the culture and seeking an AWS probe garnered hundreds of signatures. Source: GeekWire, July 23, 2021.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Barbara Whye, VP of inclusion and diversity, Apple

Apple: Multiple updates…

  • Apple’s head of diversity and inclusion Christie Smith has left the company. Her successor has not been named as of this report. Apple’s diversity and inclusion team will continue to report to Deirdre O’Brien, senior VP of retail and people. Source: Bloomberg, June 17, 2020.
  • More than half of new Apple hires in 2018 were Black, Hispanic or from other historically underrepresented groups in tech. Women accounted for 38 percent of Apple workforce under the age of 30, compared to 33 percent of the overall staff. Source: Bloomberg, June 17, 2020.
  • CEO Tim Cook said the company was starting a $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative focusing on criminal justice reform and expanding opportunities for people of color. Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal, June 18, 2020.
  • Apple is deepening its existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), adding 10 more HBCU regional coding centers that will serve as technology hubs for their campuses and broader communities. Source: Apple, July 16, 2020.
  • Apple has hired Intel veteran Barbara Whye as vice president of inclusion and diversity. Whye will join Apple in early 2021. Source: Fortune, November 2020.
  • Apple has announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color, the technology giant says. Source: Apple, January 13, 2021.
  • Apple has launched an inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. Source: Apple, February 16, 2021.
  • Fifteen Black- and Brown-owned businesses will join Apple’s Impact Accelerator — which is designed to support equity and opportunity in the environmental sector. Source: Apple, August 17, 2021.
  • Apple announced $30 million in new commitments as part of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI). These new projects, Apple says, include a Global Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Equity Innovation Hub; expanded education initiatives for community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); a new cohort of the Apple Entrepreneur Camp immersive tech lab for Hispanic/Latinx founders and developers; and funding for leaders working to advance criminal justice reform and environmental justice. Source: Apple, August 31, 2021.
  • An Apple employee who led fellow workers in publicly sharing instances of what they called harassment and discrimination at the company said she had been fired, according to Reuters. When asked about the alleged employee firing, Apple said it does not discuss specific employee matters, the report added. Source: Reuters, October 15, 2021.
  • Apple’s inclusion and diversity report, based on the company’s employment statistics through the end of 2021, is available here. Source: Apple, March 22, 2022.

Aryaka: CEO Matt Carter offered his thoughts on inclusion, diversity and equality in the interview below. Source: ChannelE2E, June 29, 2020.

This blog describes the context that set the stage for ChannelE2E’s interview with Carter.

Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition: See ongoing updates involving business policies, social issues and potential racial bias here. Source: ChannelE2E, January 2020 and ongoing thereafter.

Atos: Multiple updates…

  • Atos UK and Ireland has once again been recognized as a leading employer of women by its inclusion in the Times Top 50 Employer for Women 2021. Source: HPC Wire, April 30, 2021.
  • Cloudreach, an Atos business, is working with Amazon Web Services to expand a Talent Academy. The academy is designed to, “discover and nurture new cloud talent in-line with our joint mission to create a more diverse and inclusive technical community. Source: CloudReach, March 11, 2022.

Best Buy Diversity: Best Buy is committing more than $44 million to a five-year plan focused on staffing diversity and inclusion along with community efforts. Source: Chain Store Age, December 9, 2020.

BlackGirlsHack (BHG): RangeForce and BlackGirlsHack (BGH) are partnering to provide training resources to black girls and women, and increase representation and diversity in the cybersecurity field. Source: ChannelE2E, February 25, 2021.

Boardroom Diversity: A new group of U.S. companies is pledging to add a Black director to their boards within the next year in a bid to diversify and help accelerate more inclusion in corporate America. The moves are part of the Board Challenge, a pledge for boards to add a Black director within one year. The effort comes about a week after California lawmakers passed a bill that would require publicly traded companies based in the state to have at least one director from a minority community by the close of 2021. Source: The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2020.

Canadian Businesses: Canadian technology leaders have formed an organization to eliminate racism and discrimination from the country’s innovation sector, BNN Bloomberg reports. Twenty-five people with ties to tech incubators, governments, start-ups, banks, academic institutions, investment businesses and insurance companies say they have launched the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR). Source: BNN Bloomberg, June 29, 2020.

Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems: Multiple updates…

  • Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, addressing 3,000 partners at a major conference, called on employees, customers and partners to tackle social and community issues together. Source: ChannelE2E, November 5, 2019.
  • Cisco Systems has a new purpose — “Power an Inclusive Future for All” — and four related initiatives designed to deliver on that purpose, CEO Chuck Robbins says. Source: ChannelE2E, June 17, 2020.
  • During a series of Cisco online all-hands meetings in early June, some workers posted comments in messages channels that other staff and company management said were demeaning to Black people, exposing racial divisions at the Silicon Valley tech giant and leading to the dismissal of a number of people. On the flip side, some employees have complained that they can’t share differing views. ChannelE2E has not seen the comments that triggered firings. Source: Bloomberg, July 17, 2020.
  • Cisco Systems has vowed to increase the company’s workforce of Black people by 25% by 2023 in the entry-level to manager levels. In the director to vice president ranks, the San Jose, California-based company said it wants to raise black representation by 75%. Overall, Cisco pledged to create pay parity and promotion fairness. In the U.S., 3.8% of Cisco’s workers are Black, according to its most recent corporate and social responsibility report. For technical positions roles, the number falls to 3.3%, followed by 1.8% of vice presidents. There are no Black executives on Cisco’s leadership team. Source: Bloomberg, September 23, 2020.
  • Cisco provided an update on a legal case involving an employee who allegedly faced discrimination based on India’s caste system. Cisco claims no wrongdoing in the case, and notes that the employee is still working at the company in a new position. Source: Cisco Systems, November 3, 2020.
  • The networking giant’s 2021 Purpose Report describes Cisco’s progress on environmental, social and governance initiatives. Source: Cisco Systems, December 22, 20221.
  • A judge in the Northern District of California dismissed allegations that Cisco Systems falsely and improperly represented itself as an industry leader in diversity. Source: The National Law Review, March 12, 2022.

Cognizant: Cognizant has announced a five-year, $250 million effort to advance economic mobility, educational opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and health and well-being in communities around the world. Source: ChannelE2E, February 25, 2021.

Comcast: Multiple updates…

  • The media launched Comcast RISE, a program that “will help thousands of small businesses over the next three years.” The program offers grants, marketing and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants. Comcast RISE will roll out in waves, focusing first on U.S.-based Black-owned small businesses. In addition, all small businesses are able to sign up for free marketing insights and resources. The next wave of the program will open up eligibility to include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) — those next hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic. Source: Comcast, October 13, 2020.
  • Comcast is awarding 100 grants of $10,000 each to small business owners of color in Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The grants are part of Comcast’s $100 million RISE initiative aiming to help businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Source: KYW News Radio, February 28, 2021.

Compensation, Hiring and Wages: Multiple updates…

  • Hired Inc. Research: Job seekers who identified as Black or Hispanic tended to both expect and receive lower salary offers than their White and Asian peers over the past year, according to Hired Inc. Job seekers who identified as Black expected a $129,000 salary on average, with eventual offers averaging $134,000. White job applicants sought and received $138,000 and $144,000, respectively, while the figures for Asian candidates were $140,000 and $145,000. Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2020.
  • Government Cybersecurity and AI Jobs: Changes in federal hiring practices are urgently needed to fill thousands of jobs in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence in the face of aggressive competition from the private sector, lawmakers and federal commissioners said. Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2020.
  • Women CEOs: The rate of women taking over the top position at companies nationwide is ticking up in 2020, as calls for diversity and inclusion intensify around the country, according to a new analysis of CEO turnover data from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Of the 591 replacement CEOs recorded in the first half of 2020, 138, or 23.4%, were women, the highest rate recorded since Challenger began tracking gender data in 2010. That is up from 21.6% of female CEO replacements in the first half of 2019 and 18.6% in the first half of 2018.  Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., July 17, 2020.
  • Chief Diversity Officers: The role of the chief diversity officer is no longer an obscure position in corporate America. About half of S&P 500 companies have a CDO, and 63% of those executives stepped into their roles in the last three years. Still, most large tech firms have seen little progress in recruiting and retaining more Black and brown employees since they began publishing data around workforce diversity. Source: The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2020.
  • Fined: DXC Technology has agreed to pay $650,000 to address compensation discrimination allegations. The allegations involved a company that pre-dates DXC’s formation through M&A in 2017. Source: Virginia Business, November 20, 2020.

Consulting Industry:

  • United Kingdom: Only 11 out of 3,000 UK partners at Big Four audit and advisory firms are Black. Source: ConsultancyUK, July 6, 2020.

CrowdStrike: CrowdStrike has identified the most diverse U.S. computer science universities. The findings are particularly important, considering women are 52 percent more likely to consider STEM-focused careers if they have a female role model, according to Microsoft research. With that context in mind, CrowdStroke has partnered with Black Girls Code; established a CrowdStrike scholarship with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; and recruits talent from HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities); and partners with organizations such as Smallpeice Trust in the UK. Source: CrowdStrike, January 2021.

Continue to page two of three for more DEI updates…

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    Grant Hoover:

    This is a very important issue that requires ongoing attention and real work on the part of all of us. Our industry will never reach its full potential as long as artificial barriers are preventing us from working alongside the absolute best individuals for each role. We think of diversity as primarily being a matter of fairness to the individuals that are shut out, and it certainly is that, but it is also a matter of depriving every small business, every large enterprise, and the industry as a whole of the strongest team they could have. From every angle you look at it, diversity is a solution to so many problems.

    Joe Panettieri:

    Grant: Thank for your readership and thoughtful comment. We’ll continue to update this blog regularly — highlighting progress areas, major gap areas, and data that shows how diversity propels businesses and communities forward.

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