Microsoft

A Vision and Strategy for the Future

Diversity and inclusion are integral to Microsoft’s vision, strategy and business success. We recognize that leadership in today’s global marketplace requires that we create a corporate culture and an inclusive business environment where the best and brightest diverse minds—employees with varied perspectives, skills, and experiences--work together to meet global consumer demands.  The collaboration of cultures, ideas, and different perspectives is an organizational asset and brings forth greater creativity and innovation.

Learn about our commitment to global diversity and inclusion, including our vision, strategy, and plans for the future.  Understand why at Microsoft, global diversity and inclusion is a long term business-critical principle that is linked to the current and future success of our company.

Microsoft is on an accelerated path of growth.  We recognize that in order to achieve our aggressive leadership goals we must leverage the intellectual power and harness the creative energy of top, highly trained individuals from all regions of the world, and those from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.

We actively seek to foster greater levels of diversity in our workforce by partnering with our outreach partners which include academic institutions, professional organizations, and national advocacy groups, offering scholarships and youth programs to encourage the study of technology and science and work with our senior executive leadership team to ensure that diversity and inclusive best practices are deeply embedded throughout our work environment.  We know that these goals provide a solid foundation to creating a highly engaged workforce with a shared purpose of achieving Microsoft’s mission.

The Business Case for Global Diversity & Inclusion

At Microsoft we recognize that the U.S. and global diverse markets represent tremendous sources of value in the workplace and marketplace.  The growth of diverse populations worldwide and the potential of these segments make them important targets as prospective employees.  By the year 2050, 85% of the entrants into the U.S. workforce will be people of color and women.  Moreover, developing regions, such as China, Brazil, India, and Africa, make up an increasing share of the world population.  They will account for approximately 88% of the global population by 2050, and increase in absolute size from 1.6 billion persons in 1950 to nearly 7.5 billion persons by 2050.

Economically, the diverse markets represent a growing source of market consumption and buying power. They are an important customer group for Microsoft. Worldwide, diverse populations account for 44% of World GDP.  Within the U.S., diverse populations generate over $9 Trillion dollars in buying power.  By increasing the diversity of our workforce we will create a team that effortlessly designs products with the needs of these growing customers in mind.

Enterprise-Wide Support for Global Diversity & Inclusion

Microsoft recognizes that success for global diversity and inclusion is best achieved when it is integrated into the daily operations of business.  The Company does not isolate diversity as a separate initiative; rather, we seek to continuously incorporate diversity and inclusion into all business efforts to drive enterprise-wide impact.

Leveraging CEO Commitment

GD&I is a long-term business principle that is linked to the current and future success of Microsoft.  “By providing access to technology, Microsoft strives to help all people realize their potential. This means that diversity and inclusion are not just words on paper for us; they are core values and business imperatives. We promote diversity at every level within our organization and strive for inclusiveness in everything we do. We believe thatemploying the world’s top talent from all groups within our communities—frommany backgrounds and with varied experiences—helps us to better serve our customers and gives us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”
                                                                                                                                                                                    Steven A. Ballmer, CEO

Our Global Diversity & Inclusion Mission Statement

Microsoft’s global diversity and inclusion mission is to be the world’s #1 provider of innovative technology solutions that help realize the full potential of its diverse customers and partners around the world.

Our Global Diversity & Inclusion Vision Statement

To be led by a globally diverse workforce that consistently delivers outstanding business results, understands the various cultural demands of a global marketplace, is passionate about technology and the promise it holds to tap human potential, and thrives in a corporate culture where inclusive behaviors are valued.

Key Growth Strategies

Microsoft's Global Diversity & Inclusion (GD&I) strategy is a fundamental link in our business priorities.  We work with senior executives from various business groups and corporate functions across the company to drive our goal of market leadership through diversity excellence.

The pillars of our global diversity and inclusion strategy are:

  • Representation: Building a Pipeline of Future Leaders

    Microsoft focuses on building our employee pipeline, while actively recruiting and hiring the world’s top talent from all groups within society.

    Microsoft achieves diversity recruiting by leveraging relationships with schools and professional organizations.  These organizations include the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Society of Women Engineers, National Black MBAs, the American Indian Science and Engineer Society, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network – and more.

    Microsoft also offers several programs that provide students in grades K–12 withopportunities to interact with today’s technology and learn about careers in this industry. One such program is the worldwide Microsoft DigiGirlz which provideshigh school girls with opportunities to learn about careers in technology, talkwith Microsoft employees about their life experiences, and enjoy hands-oncomputer and technology workshops


  • Inclusion: Creating Engagement in the Work Environment

    Microsoft recognizes that diversity gains will not be sustained if the work environment does not promote behaviors that encourage new ways of problem-solving and reward diversity of thought.

    We provide Microsoft’s leaders with cultural competency training and GD&I best practice management strategies and offer employees ample opportunities to network and build key stakeholder relationships, thereby fostering a culture of inclusive behaviors.

    Microsoft also supports Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Employee Networks (ENs) which provide cultural awareness and social networking, and are linked to the overall business goals of the organization. Members voluntarily work together and serve as internal resources to ensure that diverse perspectives are included in business operations, marketing and product development activities.  These organizations provide career development, support, networking opportunities, mentoring, community participation, product input, and assistance in activities that promote cultural awareness. Their programs include speaker series, scholarship programs, community service, development conferences, and heritage celebrations.


  • Innovation: Driving Market Excellence

    Microsoft believes that building the best software means incorporating the talents of our varied workforce into our products, and recognizing the needs and priorities of our diverse customer, supplier and partner base. We are committed to supplier diversity, which includes working with certified and highly trained minority, women, veteran-owned businesses, and businesses owned by persons with disabilities, as well as with small businesses seeking to purchase competitively priced quality goods and services from Microsoft. In fiscal year 2009, Microsoft spent more than US $1 billion dollars working with over 1,255 suppliers that are woman-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-ownedbusinesses. This spend has increased by more than 250% in the last few years.

    Microsoft also partners with top diversity-related organizations and participates in several community events to bring technology innovation to diverse communities. We maintain relationships with organizations through employee membership and volunteerism, career fair and conference participation, software donations, and financial sponsorships. Some of the events we participate in are shown here:


Women Focus:

Catalyst  Award  Dinner

Global Summit of Women

Working Mother Media Conference

Odyssey Leadership Summit

Women In Business 2009


African American/Black Focus:

National Urban League Annual Convention

National Association of Black Journalists Convention

Executive Leadership Council

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit


Disability Focus:

Alliance for Technology Access

American Association of People with Disabilities

Easter Seals Massachusetts, Inc.

National Business and Disability Council

Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind


Latino/Hispanic Focus:

National Association of Hispanic Journalists 28th Annual Convention
National Hispanic Corporate Council

Asian Focus:

Asian American Engineer of the Year Award Ceremony
The Center for Asian Pacific American Women National Conference

GLBT Focus:

2009 Out & Equal Workplace Summit
13th Annual HRC National Dinner

Native American/Indigenous Focus:

American Indian Business Leaders National Conference

Veteran Focus:

USO Salute Our Troops Event

Major Programs & Initiatives

There are several programs underway that enhance Microsoft’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest minds in a globally diverse workforce. These programs are built around three core principles: Representation, Inclusion, and Innovation.

Learn more about our programs and initiatives

Representation

  • Microsoft recruits top college talent from domestic and global academic institutions that have a history of educating African Americans, Latinos, and women.  We seek out diverse talent at all schools and specifically target historically underrepresented institutions.

  • Microsoft Scholarships are offered to individuals with the goal of exposing them to emerging technologies and career opportunities in the information technology industry. We offer scholastic scholarships at the graduate-level through various groups.


Learn more about our College Scholarships.

Inclusion

  • Microsoft offers a comprehensive diversity and inclusion education program to ensure employees have the skills and knowledge to excel in their responsibilities.  We foster a workplace environment that is empowering, inclusive, and supportive.

  • Microsoft offers flexible work arrangements, programs, resources, and tools to help employees achieve greater work life balance.  These resources range from extensive resource and referral services to generous maternity and paternity leave policies.


Innovation

  • Product innovation is at the heart of Microsoft’s work.  Some examples of accessibility technology innovation include the following:

  • Adaptive Systems and Interaction research pursues automated reasoning, adaptation, and human-computer interaction. Ongoing work in this area includes extending mouse and keyboard with touch sensors, enabling systems to sense contact from the user's hands.

  • Speech Technology researchers are working to improve spoken language technologies. They are interested not only in creating state-of-the-art spoken language components, but also in how these disparate components can come together with other modes of human-computer interaction to form a unified, consistent computing environment.

  • Natural Language Processing researchers are working to design and build software that will analyze, understand, and generate languages that humans use naturally, so that eventually you will be able to address your computer as though you were addressing another person.


Awards & Recognition

Microsoft is proud of its accomplishments and recognition for diversity and inclusion excellence.  Awards include: 

Overall Diversity Excellence

DiversityInc Magazine, 25 Noteworthy Companies

Equal Opportunity Magazine, Top 50 Companies

ERE, Recruiting Excellence Awards for Best Diversity Program and Best Strategic Use of Technology

Women

Woman Engineer Annual Magazine, Top 50 Employer Award

Women’s Business Development Center, Corporate Support Award

Working Mother Magazine, 100 Best Companies

GLBT

Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index,100% score for four consecutive years

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights, Special Recognition Award

Asians

Asian MBA, Top 10 Companies List for Asian Americans Award

Persons with Disabilities

Ability Magazine, Excellence Arena

National Multiple Sclerosis Society,Corporate "Stars" Award

Generational (Youth)

Diversity Edge Magazine, Best Companies for Diverse Graduates

Global Awards

Austria, Best Employer for Females (three consecutive years)

France,Great Place to Work, No.1

Ireland, Great Place to Work, No. 1 (two consecutive years)

Italy, Great Place to Work, No. 1  

Russia, Best Employer, No. 1   

Click here for a full list of our Diversity awards and recognition