Microsoft’s latest diversity numbers show modest gains in the representation of Black and Latinx employees in technical roles in the last year.
The representation of the groups has significantly improved since the company started releasing employee data four years ago. Black employees increased from 3.8 percent to 4 percent of Microsoft’s workforce while Latinx employees increased from 5.5 percent to 5.7 percent between 2017 and 2018. In the last four years, Black and Latinx employees have increased by 33 percent.
Women make up 28 percent of employees at Microsoft overall, up from 27 percent last year. There are also more women in technical roles at the company at 19.9 percent up from 18.5 percent a year ago. Women overall are also improving in leadership positions, at 19.7 percent up from 18.8 percent in 2017.
“We are starting to see the seeds of the fruit that have been laid over the course of the last four years,” said Microsoft’s chief diversity officer Lindsay-Rae McIntyre to Fortune. “We are encouraged by our progress, but we’re super clear that we’re closer to the beginning of this journey than the end.”
The tech giant is reportedly testing several new strategies to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, with a focus on hiring and retaining women and people of color. McIntyre told Bloomberg that Microsoft has made inclusion a “core priority” for employees with a new initiative that ties inclusion efforts into their compensation package.
“That means employees and managers will have ongoing conversations throughout the year on how every individual at Microsoft can contribute to making us more diverse and more inclusive,” McIntyre explained.
To take advantage of the financial benefit, employees may participate in an employee resource group, attend an inclusion training, or teach at one of the pipeline organizations Microsoft supports, according to Bloomberg.
“We are closer to the beginning of this journey than the end,” McIntyre said to GeekWire.