Intel made bold steps towards diversity-oriented teams in its company, but some insiders are unhappy with the gender and ethnicity inclusion policies.
Brian Krzanich, the Intel CEO, told Rev. Jesse Jackson that there's "been a bit of a backlash within the company," and the senior leadership team of the OEM even faced some threats.
Krzanich made the statement during the PUSHTech 2020 conference that took place on Friday, April 22, in San Francisco.
The leader of Intel mentioned that due to the inclusion policies, some of his employees perceived being a white male as an endangered position.
"We've even had a few threats [...] on some of our leadership team around our position on diversity and inclusion," he notes.
Intel's CEO reminds everyone in the company that the process is not based on exclusion. In other words, the HR will not bring in Hispanics or African-Americans or women so that other categories (read: white males) are pushed aside. This simply means that the current employees will keep their jobs but will have more diverse colleagues than before.
Krzanich's explains that what the inclusion process aims to do is, in fact, making minorities and women "part of the whole environment."
Should you be curious what types of threats reached the higher echelons of Intel, read on.
"Any time you undertake a big initiative it's [...] an ongoing process toward change and evolution. [...] Words can mean many things," a spokesperson says.
Intel boosted its underrepresented minority population by 30 percent during the last year. When looking at the extent of the whole company, the percentage reaches 12 percent.
Krzanich points out that his company topped its hiring goals for women and marginalized minority groups by as much as 43.3 percent during the last 12 months.
Intel intends to include details such as gender and race in its upcoming diversity report, so that figures can speak for themselves.
The CEO mentions that the company plans to publish the data into public space, and there are good reasons for it.
"I almost hope there are gaps [...] because it's a problem I can fix," he affirms. He adds that he always looks at problems from an engineer's point of view, meaning that engineering the solution to such a challenge is totally possible and even enjoyable for those that are solution-oriented.
It is not the first time when Intel works toward inclusiveness.
Krzanich used his stage time at the 2015 Consumer Electronics show to let the media know that Intel wants to invest $300 million in promoting workforce diversity. He pointed out that bringing in diversity in the tech environment has the potential to shape the future of the industry.
In the initiative, Intel signed partnerships with universities and black colleges that have a significant number of African-American students, alongside NGOs such as CODE2040.
Krzanich also addressed the so-called "pipeline problem," a complaint of the tech industry that there are very few minority women candidates ready to take certain senior jobs. He pointed out that by sending out "a diverse team" to recruit talent in diverse colleges, building a strong pipeline becomes easy.