Microsoft Marketing

Microsoft down to a quarter women employees


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

November 22, 2016 | 3 min read

The number of women working at Microsoft is down to just over 25%. The latest data from the software giant, released Thursday, said that its employee base was 25.8% female at the end of September 2016, according to a story in the Seattle Times.

Credit: Microsoft

Credit: Microsoft

The numbers showed a second straight decline in the number of women employed, down one per cent from the previous year, and nearly four per cent from two years ago, when Microsoft was 29% female.

According to GeekWire, the downward trend was due to its decision to back off of its phone hardware business, impacting the number of women employed. While that wasn’t the only reason for the decline, Microsoft did note a slight upward trend, with women in technical roles increasing by 0.6% and women in leadership roles increasing by 0.6%.

“Our representation numbers show modest progress and a deepening commitment to advancing the work we’re doing around (diversity and inclusion) at Microsoft,” said Gwen Houston, Microsoft’s general manager of Global Diversity and Inclusion, in the GeekWire story.

“While the 1 per cent decline that we noted in women globally is certainly disappointing, it wasn’t altogether unexpected,” she added. “We believe we are at or very near the end of that decline as that business decision comes to an end. We take some optimism in the fact that we are starting to see some positive trend lines.”

The Seattle Times noted that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is on an advocacy campaign to push Microsoft and other companies in the Silicon Valley and Silicon Forest to broaden the diversity in their respective workforces. The industry is male-dominated and employs few African American and Latino workers. Still, Microsoft lags behind Facebook, Apple and Google, which all have more than 30% female employees.

The percentage may rise for Microsoft after its acquisition of LinkedIn, the social business network which was bought for $26.2 billion, which is 42% female.

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