Intel just released its most recent set of diversity numbers. Like their peers at Google and Facebook, there's still work to be done; though unlike almost every other tech company releasing diversity data, Intel has seen major progress on goals they've set--and that we should enthusiastically applaud.
Last year Intel set a goal that 40% of all new hires would be female or underrepresented minorities. They exceeded the goal, hitting 43.1%--Intel continues to be a leader in both talking about greater representation and opportunity for all, and for taking action.
I credit Intel's success to 1) their transparency about their diversity data (which they have been publishing for more than 10 years), 2) applying the same metric and data-driven approach with which they conduct all areas of business to their diversity strategy, and 3) tying executive bonuses to meeting diversity goals.
When asked about the progress, Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich made an astute observation: Intel's diversity progress is proof that "the so-called 'pipeline' problem -- the idea that there just aren't enough good candidates out there -- is overhyped." Krzanich said, "If the pipeline was such a big problem, I would have come back as a failure."
We all know there is a pipeline problem. But Intel admits that the "pipeline problem" isn't the only issue that needs to be addressed. Over the past few years Intel has shown that if an organization puts concerted effort towards changing the hiring statistics, those statistics do start to change.
Imagine a Utopia where an organization doesn't have to spend so much concerted effort on making sure they are getting the absolute best talent regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or sports team preference. The gap standing between that ideal and today's reality is a process that lacks structure and automated efficiency.
Today hiring managers have been left out of the master plan to improve hiring practices and processes. If organizations were to make hiring practices more structured and data-driven, the result would be a reduction in hiring that is based more on "gut" than on skills or experience.
It is important to applaud Intel for the work they have done and acknowledge the meaningful progress they have made. As a next step I propose that they take what has worked and bake it into day-to-day processes so that years from now they won't have just reached 43% more diverse representation for one year's batch of incoming talent, but for more equal representation in their entire workforce.