At the annual shareholder meeting of Microsoft on Dec. 3, workforce diversity was the main topic as the company agreed to make public the diversity data report that it sends to the government by the end of December.
The EEO-1 form discusses in detail the data regarding a company's workforce, including gender and race among various job types. Companies have been sending the information to the government for decades now.
Other companies that have already previously agreed to release their EEO-1 forms are Google, Yahoo, Intel, Facebook and LinkedIn. Apple and Amazon, however, have so far refused to do so.
Rev. Jesse Jackson had a meeting this week with Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. In the meeting, Jackson urged Nadella to release Microsoft's EEO-1 form and to commit to hire more people of color and women into the company's board and its workforce.
Nadella was born in India, chairman John Thompson is African American and CFO Amy Hood is a woman. However, similar to the most companies in the tech industry, Microsoft's workforce is dominantly white and male, with 61 percent being white and 71 percent being male.
During the Q&A portion of the annual meeting, Jackson told the shareholders that the workforce and leadership of Microsoft, and the tech industry in general, does not reflect the population of the consumers that the companies rely upon for their success.
After the meeting, Jackson said in an interview that he was happy that the company is considering adopting a Rooney rule in filling board openings, referring to the rule implemented in 2003 by the NFL that required teams to interview candidates from the minority groups for significant positions. The rule has led to the increase of black coaches in the league.
Microsoft's desire to push for wider workforce diversity "signals to the rest of the industry that there is no reason to be afraid of our challenge to them to grow," said Jackson.
At the same meeting, the shareholders of Microsoft approved a pay package for Nadella worth $84 million, despite significant concerns that were raised by the Institutional Shareholder Services advisory group regarding the size of the stock grants that have been awarded to the CEO.
Bill Gates, the iconic former CEO of Microsoft, was nowhere to be found during the shareholder meeting. However, Gates was expected to be present at the closed-door meeting of Microsoft board members that took place right after the shareholder meeting.