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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Intel became the latest tech company to report diversity statistics Tuesday, sharing a mixed bag of annual numbers that included small gains in some areas, relatively flat numbers of Black employees and a decline in female representation in the U.S.

Why it matters: Intel, which was one of the first Big Tech companies to commit significant dollars to addressing racial and gender inequality, has nonetheless struggled, like its peers, to make continuous and significant progress toward a more diverse workforce.

Details: Women made up a bit more than a quarter of Intel's employee headcount, seeing a tiny drop in the U.S. compared to last year and a similarly minuscule increase over the same period for Intel's total global workforce.

  • The percentage of underrepresented minorities in the U.S. workforce ticked up by a fraction of a percentage point, coming in at just over 16%. African American representation was flat at 4.9%.

What they're saying:"It may be slower than we would like but at least the conversation is on the table," Intel's interim chief diversity and inclusion officer Dawn Jones told Axios. (Former diversity chief Barbara Whye recently announced she was leaving Intel to take over the top diversity role at Apple.)

The big picture: Intel's inability to significantly boost the diversity of its workforce is far from unique in the industry.

  • Plus, tech's story on race isn't just about the numbers. As we've recently written, it's about how much power is concentrated at the top of companies, largely in the hands of white men.
  • It's also about systemic discrimination and harassment reported by Black and brown employees and women — including recent controversies at Coinbase and Google.
  • Just Monday, Pinterest said it settled a gender discrimination suit with former COO Francoise Brougher (reportedly for $22.5 million, $2.5 million of which is going to charities).

Meanwhile: Even as they struggle to improve conditions in their own industry, tech companies are putting energy into broader racial equality efforts.

  • Microsoft today announced it’s partnering with three Milwaukee pro sports teams and venture capital fund TitleTownTech to form the "Equity League," aimed at supporting Black and Latino founders.
  • Yelp today announced initiatives alongside its diversity report, including depositing $10 million into three Black-owned banks that prioritize lending to underserved communities.
  • Apple earlier this year established a $100 million racial justice and equity fund aimed at addressing systemic inequality.

What's next: Intel wants to set up an industry-wide effort that would work to help standardize ways of measuring different diversity statistics from one company to another.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 14, 2021 - Technology

Legacy chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm seek to seize back control

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Although most eyes were on the impeachment and other Washington goings-on, Wednesday was a big day for the chip industry, which produced a 10-figure deal and a major leadership shakeup.

The big picture: Legacy chip players Intel and Qualcomm have watched other companies eat into the business lines that got them where they are. They're now seeking to seize control of their own fates.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
9 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

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