Intel CEO Brian Krzanich reaffirms PUSH for diversity

7 May 2015

In addition to restating Intel’s pledge of US$300m for its drive to employ more women and minorities, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced such hires at the company are rising fast, detailing new initiatives to further diversification.

On Wednesday, during a keynote address at Rev Jesse Jackson’s PUSH Tech 2020 Summit in San Francisco, Krzanich stated that Intel is making good on its pledge to spend US$300 million over the next five years on diversification.

The company aims to ensure that, by 2020, Intel’s workforce fully reflects the racial and sexual make-up of the population. In the first four months of 2015, so-called diversity hires – women and under-represented minorities – are up to 41pc at the company, a notable increase from last year’s 32pc and an improvement on the target of 40pc.

Furthermore, in those four months, 17pc of hires at senior level were under-represented minorities and 33pc were women, up from 6pc and 19pc, respectively, in 2014.

Intel, diversity and ‘real progress’

Krzanich siad he is proud of these improvements: “This is real progress. We are trying to do inside a corporation what society has tried to do for years.”

For Krzanich, it’s not just about mirroring the diversity in hires that are already available, it’s about improving that diversity.

He detailed Intel’s plan to pour US$5m of that US$300m pledge into an Oakland, California school district over the next five years, feeding into the company’s diversity aims.

The district, in which 65pc of enrolled students are black or Hispanic, will receive support from the company to develop computer science programmes at two of the area schools.

That support will include helping to develop a curriculum, training teachers, providing computers and internet access, and tutoring students.

A supply and demand issue

In the longer term Intel hopes that it can inspire some 600 high school graduates from the programme to go on to study computer science or engineering at third level, preparing them for jobs at Intel – or other IT and tech companies – and thereby expanding the pool of diversity hires.

In addition, Krzanich communicated Intel’s intention to increase spending on women and minority-owned suppliers from US$150m per year to US$1 billion by 2020. According to Krzanich, the technology and level of complexity required of Intel’s suppliers is high – so high that many suppliers do not have the education or capabilities to meet requirements. Intel aims to lift those suppliers up.

But, at the PUSH Tech Summit, Krzanich acknowledged that all of this may be easier said than done. “I am not going to fool you. This is hard work. This isn’t rocket science. It’s harder.”

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-19 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Women in the office image, via Shutterstock

Kirsty Tobin was careers editor at Silicon Republic