Microsoft has a diversity problem. CEO Satya Nadella admitted Wednesday the company is still falling short when it comes to hiring women and underrepresented minorities. The number of women working for Microsoft actually fell, compared with last year, while the company only marginally improved on the number of African-Americans and Latinos joining its ranks.
At the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, Nadella said employees had been given mandatory training in overcoming unconscious biases. "Even with these steps forward, we're still not where we want to be," he said.
It's an area of weakness for Microsoft, and despite committing at last year's shareholder meeting to improve, Nadella admitted that the company had failed to meet its goals. Microsoft employs just under 116,000 people globally, with 46.5 percent of those working in technical positions.
Jesse Jackson, head of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, which fights for civil rights, took to the stage to second Nadella's comments about the improvements that need to be made. "We now urge Microsoft to actively seek out qualified blacks and Latinos for your next appointments, and want to work with you to identify board leaders for the future," he said.
Microsoft's latest diversity report revealed that year-over-year, the percentage of women at the company dropped from 29 percent to 26.8 percent. This was attributed mainly to the layoffs of 7,800 employees in July related to issues stemming from Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business for $7.2 billion last year.
The company made small increases in its non-white workforce: African-American hires from universities into technical positions reached 3.3 percent, compared with 2.5 percent the previous year, while Hispanic hires reached 5.1 percent, compared with 4.9 percent the previous year.
"When we sort of say everything at Microsoft starts with our mission, and we want to talk about empowering the world and empowering every person on the planet, it has to start with diversity and inclusion right here at Microsoft, and us, representing the world internally," Nadella said.