Brian Krzanich, Intel’s Chief Executive Officer, in his CES keynote on Tuesday announced the Diversity in Technology Initiative. Intel will spend $300 million on the campaign to greatly increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities employed by the company.
“We’ve set a goal to reach full representation, at all levels in our company’s workforce, by 2020,” Krzanich said. “What that means is significantly [increasing] our hiring, progression, retention, of women and minorities in the workplace. We will, as good engineers, measure and report our progress on a regular basis, with full transparency.
“And, we’re going to hold our leaders accountable by tying their pay to our progress. This is going to be difficult to achieve, which is why we’re making a significant investment to support diversity and inclusion in our industry.”
The lack of diversity in the tech industry has been well documented, beginning with a March 2013 CNN money report about the “Boy’s Club” in Silicon Valley, where the vast majority of employees are male, and either white or Asian. In January 2014 Google published demographic information that showed 70 percent of its workforce was male, and 91 percent was either white or Asian. Yahoo and Facebook reported similar workforce demographics in June.
Intel was also inadvertently drawn into the ongoing debate about lack of representation for women and minorities in the video game industry in October. Intel pulled its ads from developer-facing video game news site Gamasutra following a “flood” of complaints about an article published by the site titled “’Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over,” written by progressive video game critic Leigh Alexander.
A source at Intel, under condition of anonymity, told the Daily Dot that Intel quickly realized the company had been “astroturfed” by members of a campaign known as Gamergate, a radical reaction to women and minorities demanding equal representation in both the video game industry and in video games themselves.
On Oct. 3, Intel issued a statement apologizing for any offense caused by its decision to stop advertising on Gamasutra.
“We recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community,” read the statement. “That was not our intent, and that is not the case.”
Perception that Intel was supporting the Gamergate movement had already begun to spread, by the time Intel issued its apology. The Diversity in Technology Initiative addressed both that misperception, and the issue of industry-wide problems with diversity in the tech sector.
“From the threats and harassments that have characterized the debate in the gaming world to the publication of hiring statistics in the tech industry, this is a highly relevant issue, and one that we all need to address,” Krzanich said.
Screengrab courtesy of Intel