back to article Slow and steady progress in Microsoft's latest diversity report, though most execs still pale and male

Amid grumbling from lawmakers, Microsoft has pushed out a fresh diversity report, sprinkling the odd "must try harder" among the corporate back slappery. The report arrives as the company snapped back against suggestions from the US government that its mission to double the number of black and African American senior employees …

  1. martinusher Silver badge

    Not very encouraging

    Speaking as someone who is pale, male and by all accounts quite a reasonable programmer I can't help asking myself why there should be artificial barriers placed in front of me in the workplace. I can't help who I am -- I was born white and pale. I didn't have any social advantages, either -- I'm not a jock type so I didn't fit in with the social crowd at both school and college. I didn't fall into a sucession of high paying jobs after leaving college but rather had to haul to find decent work, it taking maybe ten years or more to get some real traction.

    Based on my experience reviewing resumes I'd guess that my background was actually pretty normal. Even those people I know who left a 'good school', dropped into a 'good job' and earned scads of money from the get go didn't continue on a meteoric trajectory for the most part because -- unfortuantely -- the world of work involves actual work. In our business once you cease to do the junior grunt work roles (which are always sold as 'exciting opportunities') it actually takes significant time to get to really know a product or technology. Job functions are predefined so unless you're a significant individual contributor who's being hired specifically for a particular skill or talent you'll be absorbed by the system into a predefined role doing a predefined task in a predefined timeframe. Its just the nature of work.

    I've been fairly lucky in that I'm not only retired but I got there without having to hire on at one of those big tech companies (although I did become an accidental Intel employee for a few years due to a corporate aquisition). I found that the best way to progress was through startups; these unfortunately traded job security (and wages, conditions and regular working hours) for opportunity to both learn and make industry contacts. This type of environment is totally focused on what you can do -- they're not interested in diversity because there's nothing to squabble about, you either can do the job or you can't. The more regular 'hire because the face fits' pattern only occurs as the company matures, gets aquired and so on, but by that time you're probably be thinking of moving on because corporate does not like startup types -- they'll pay you well as a 'retention bonus' or whatever but you'll eventually fall in the inevitable RIFs.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Not very encouraging

      "Speaking as someone who is pale, male and by all accounts quite a reasonable programmer I can't help asking myself why there should be artificial barriers placed in front of me in the workplace."

      Because you're missing the point, you are - as is common - making it strictly about yourself.

      The point is that everyone else has had barriers, either structurally acknowledged or group impressed, upon them. Women and minorities, for example, have a long-held stereotype that they are 'less suited' to technology roles, and therefore are rated lower in the placement ratings just because they are them. Even Microsoft itself acknowledges this, with the quoted comment of "there is still much work to be done with specific communities".

      But you have taken the common position: any work to re-equalize the playing field, any effort done to repair a broken system that seems (true or false, systemically or via an individual's unique actions) to discount the importance of another individual due strictly to their physical a 'barrier' placed on you.

      And this, amongst other things, is why these systems remain broken.

      You sound like a very reasonable fellow. But, fundamentally, you are continuing to look at this as a power struggle: any positives that they might receive, any reparations that they might attain, is a negative on my spreadsheet on the balance of life.

      You are not getting "barriers placed in front of [you]" when another person who isn't you - isn't "pale and male" - gets equal considerations and compensations in the same work conditions that you both will share. I'm sorry, but it isn't, and you need to realize that in order to see the truth of what these people fight for.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Not very encouraging

        equal considerations and compensations in the same work conditions that you both will share is one thing, and definitely the way it should be.

        However, artificial diversity targets which encourage hiring and advancement to meet those targets, rather than on individual merit, is a different thing, and not the way it should be. Those artificial targets do place barriers in front of anyone who falls outside the demographic favoured by the targets. That is wrong, and damages the positive aims of treating everyone the same if they have the same abilities.

        Eliminating conscious and unconscious bias is the hard part, and that is not acheived with diversity targets. It is acheived with staff training and a dedication to hire the most qualified person for the job, regardless of sex, race, disability, gender identity etc.

        And even when the biases are removed, there may still be disparities. Consider the demographic ratios of people studying for tech roles, applying for tech roles. If you want to increase minority representation, those are where you start. Alongside bias training and monitoring.

        Trouble is that takes time, isn't a quick fix, and is a lot of hard work. Insisting on mandated diversity requirements is easy, and when it doesn't work just blame the tech companies for not trying hard enough.

      2. Jay Lenovo

        Re: Not very encouraging

        For executive jobs, it's largely a social circle of people they know and likely hang out with. No need to gamble your future bringing someone irregular into the club.

        Diversity is then a great initiative for all the "other jobs" in the company.

        It takes a while to penetrate the stale sanctuary that is upper management, everyone there is just so valuable (ahem).

  2. redpawn

    Like their software

    slow and buggy is about all you could hope for.

  3. SundogUK Silver badge

    Don't care. Sick of this enforced diversity bullshit.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Poor you

      Sick of this enforced diversity bullshit when you get all the benefits, yet experience none of the deficits that those other people have to deal with, constantly, day-in and day-out.

      What a tough life you have.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Poor you

        Sounds suspiciously like you're saying Sundog and anyone else who's not considered a minority should have to experience all the deficits you mention. "For balance" or whatever. As in, one kind of discrimination bad, another kind good.

        That's not the way to improve things.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Poor you

          Way to shit on his fair statement.

          Fairness of opportunity. Nothing wrong with that. But you bigots will paint it as something more nefarious.

          Being fair to people. Imagine being such a fucking moral free scumsucking fuckbag that you begrudge people that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's because you're a disgusting, overpriviliged bigot. I absolutely loathe people like you - moaning twats who have had it easy all their lives and don't want equality of opportunity for others.

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