Intel’s diversity efforts are somewhat paying off

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It became clear in last year’s mid-year diversity report that Intel had a leaky bucket, meaning that even though it had increased the number of underrepresented minorities it was bringing in, its overall minority representation was on the decline. Based on Intel’s latest diversity report, it seems the company is moving in the right direction when it comes to retention of diverse employees.

Overall, Intel hit its goal retaining diverse employees, with a 15 percent exit rate for women and people of color compared to a 15.5 percent exit rate for employees in majority groups (white people, Asian people and men).

Last year, 14.2 percent of Intel’s new hires were from an underrepresented minority group, which led to an increase of people of color representation from 12.3 percent during the middle of 2016 to 12.5 percent by the end of the year. It’s also an overall increase from Intel’s 2015 representation of people of color (12.4 percent).

The exit rate for people of color was slightly higher than their majority colleagues — 15.5 percent for underrepresented minorities compared to 15.3 percent for white and Asian employees. Retention for black employees, however, was slightly better, with an exit rate of 15.2 percent.

Regarding the Hispanic/Latinx employee population at Intel, representation of Latinx people dropped from 8.4 percent in 2015 to 8.2 percent by the end of 2016. But Intel says it’s because of a reclassification of race and the addition of a “two races or more” category.

The Latinx exit rate at Intel was 15.5 percent, which means a worse retention rate for Latinx employees than black, Asian and white employees. But it wasn’t as bad as the retention rate for Native Americans, which had an exit rate of 17.3 percent. So, Intel is (somewhat surprisingly) best at retaining black people and the worst at retaining Native American employees.

In general, Intel retains women at a higher rate than men. In 2016, the exit rate for women at Intel was 15 percent while the exit rate for men was 15.4 percent. It’s not clear why Intel is better at retaining some groups more than others. Across the board, exit rates drastically increased last year compared to the year before, in part because of layoffs.

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This is not the first time Intel has reported retention data, but it is the first time it’s reported retention data specific to underrepresented minorities in its main report, rather than just in the addendum. It’s also worth noting that the data from previous addendums were not relative to each respective race’s size at the company.

Last year, Intel tried a couple of new things to improve retention. For one, it implemented WarmLine, a service to provide support and guidance to people thinking about leaving the company. Since its launch in Spring 2016, 1,200 people used the service. Intel also did a retention survey around underrepresented minorities. Details of the study’s results were scarce, but Intel Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Danielle Brown (pictured above on left) wrote in the diversity report that it “provided us a thorough look into the challenges our employees of color face.” The next step is to create “Tailored playbooks” to improve representation of diverse people at the company, as well as inclusion.

“Our aim is to engage business leaders and managers in diversity and inclusion efforts more directly so that we can collectively work toward meeting hiring, retention, and progression goals,” Brown wrote.

Overall, Intel exceeded its 2016 hiring goals, with 45.1 percent of its new hires coming from an underrepresented group. At the leadership level, female representation grew from 17.6 percent in 2015 to 18.4 percent by the end of last year. Underrepresented minority representation at the leadership level also increased, from 6.3 percent in 2015 to 7.1 percent at the end of 2016, with each respective group seeing increases (representation of black employees went from 2.3 percent to 2.5 percent, Latinx employee representation grew from 3.8 percent to 4 percent and Native American representation increased from 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent).

Moving forward, Brown says Intel will address intersectionality, “starting with a focused and targeted strategy around improving the retention and progression of Intel’s women of color.”

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