Microsoft reports modest diversity gains, boosted by LinkedIn workforce and hiring initiatives

Microsoft says it’s seeing small but across-the-board increases in the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities working at the company, including those in technical and leadership roles, in the latest annual update on the Redmond tech giant’s efforts to diversify its workforce.

Women now represent 27.3 percent of Microsoft’s employee base, according to new numbers released Tuesday afternoon by Kathleen Hogan, the company’s chief people officer. That number is up from 25.8 percent last year, but a substantial portion of that increase is due to the inclusion of LinkedIn’s workforce following Microsoft’s acquisition of the business social network.

Excluding the LinkedIn employees, Microsoft’s percentage of women employees rose to 25.9 percent, up just 0.1 percent from last year. However, Microsoft says the increase would actually be larger, about 0.9 percent, excluding the numbers from the smartphone manufacturing operations that the company shut down, where women represented a higher percentage of the workforce.

The number of African American/Black employees at the company rose to 4 percent from 3.7 percent previously, and Hispanic/Latino employees increased to 5.9 percent from 5.5 percent.

“We are encouraged to see progress both in terms of the all-up representation of women and minorities, as well as technical and leadership roles, and we’re very committed to continuing this journey to see sustained progress in the future,” Hogan said in an interview with GeekWire.

In a post about the data, Hogan cited five “pillars” of the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including expanding its pipeline of talent through a variety of programs, looking beyond its traditional recruiting practices, empowering and retaining existing employees, and other efforts.