Intel has been one of the more active supporters of Silicon Valley’s drive to diversify its tech workforce, but it’s faced some internal resistance along the way, its CEO Brian Krzanich said on Friday.
According to TechCrunch, Krzanich said he’s received threats and “backlash” from employees for trying to hire more minorities at his company:
People worry that as a white man, you’re kind of under siege to a certain extent…There’s been a bit of resistance. We’ve even had a few threats and things like that on some of our leadership team around our position on diversity and inclusion.
We stand up there and just remind everybody it’s not an exclusive process. We’re not bringing in women or African-Americans or Hispanics in exclusion to other people. We’re actually just trying to bring them in and be a part of the whole environment.
Gender and racial problems have been making headlines in Silicon Valley in recent months. Most notably, Ellen Pao had accused her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of gender discrimination, a case which she lost on all counts at trial.
Intel has launched a number of initiatives to solve this problem, including a $125 million fund intended to boost women and minority representation in tech. Krzanich also set a mandate last year to make 40% of all new hired at Intel to be women or underrepresented minorities (black, Latino, Native American). Yet, Intel’s workforce remains 75 per cent male and 86 per cent white and Asian combined.
Krzanich didn’t share more details of the threats he received. But the backlash isn’t not too surprising given the company’s going through huge layoffs, with more than 12,000 jobs expected to be cut this year.
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