November 24, 2015

"Microsoft has blamed a drop in its workforce's gender diversity on the thousands of layoffs it made to restructure its phone hardware business."

CIO This year, women made up 26.8 percent of Microsoft's total workforce, down from 29 percent in 2014, the company reported Monday. By Blair Hanley Frank via IDG News Service

'Microsoft employed 5,701 fewer women this year compared to last, versus 5,316 fewer men.

'In a blog post discussing the numbers, Gwen Houston, Microsoft's general manager of diversity and inclusion, said that while the firm made progress on other metrics, the decrease in women resulted from a business decision in the longer-term interest of the company.

'"The workforce reductions resulting from the restructure of our phone hardware business ... impacted factory and production facilities outside the U.S. that produce handsets and hardware, and a higher percentage of those jobs were held by women," she said.

'While the drop in female workers was most prominent in non-technical roles, Microsoft now employs a smaller or equal percentage of women across all its job categories compared to last year. The percentage of women in leadership roles was unchanged, while the company has fewer women working in technical, retail and factory roles compared to 2014.

'Put bluntly, it seems like the phone hardware division that Microsoft acquired from Nokia and then subsequently downsized had a more gender diverse workforce than its remaining operations.'

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