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AUTO COMPANIES FIND SUCCESS WITH DIVERSITY PROGRAMS

7/12/2017, noon | Updated on 7/12/2017, noon
A survey by Atlassian showed, “that 83 percent of tech employees believe their company is already diverse, and 79 percent ...
Lisa Brown, the diversity and inclusion consultant for Volkswagen Group of America, said that the automotive industry has to market to the Black community and do business with Black-owned firms. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

AUTO COMPANIES FIND SUCCESS WITH DIVERSITY PROGRAMS

By Bria Nicole Stone (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

As tech companies struggle to recruit and hire African-

Americans and other minorities, companies in another billion dollar industry, have embraced the importance of diversity and inclusion strategies that are critical to the future success of their businesses.

A recent report published by General Motors found that African Americans account for a higher share of the automaker’s workforce in the United States compared to their share of the total U.S. workforce. Blacks account for 18.1 percent of the total U.S.

workforce at General Motors, according to the company’s 2017 “Diversity & Inclusion” report.

GM also reported that 35 percent of all of the company’s U.S. hires were minorities in 2016.

In the report, Mary Barra, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, said that, “at a time when the auto industry, technology and customer preferences are changing rapidly, diversity and inclusion are more vital to GM’s success than ever

before.”

Meanwhile, “tech companies like Google, Facebook and Intel have shown little progress since first releasing their diversity numbers in 2014,” according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Google’s own workforce demographic data released in 2014 showed that only 2 percent of the tech giant’s sta€ers were Black.

In fact, the San Francisco-based software firm Atlassian reported that Blacks account for just 2 percent of the tech industry’s entire workforce.

Some tech companies don’t even recognize they have a problem.

A survey by Atlassian showed, “that 83 percent of tech employees believe their company is already diverse, and 79 percent think the average team at their company has a diverse set of team members,” according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

In March, Apple shareholders rejected a plan to accelerate the company’s e€orts to increase diversity among its seniormanagement and its board of directors, TheVerge.com reported.

TheVerge.com article continued: “This is the second year in a row that Apple shareholders have shot down the proposal, with just over 95 percent of the vote opposing it this time around— slightly more than last year.”

Ken Barrett, the global chief diversity oªcer for GM, said that some people look at diversity and inclusion programs as the right thing to do, but the programs are also about business.

“There is a clear business case for diversity and inclusion on the inside and outside of your organization,” said Barrett. “For us, diversity may be the

picture, but inclusion is the test.”

Barrett continued: “Do people really feel empowered to bring their ideas to the forefront? Do they feel empowered to tackle the challenges we face as a company and ultimately be in a position to spawn new ideas? That [innovation] will ultimately give us that competitive edge.”

Barrett said that for GM to be relevant and to win in the marketplace, the company has to possess cultural competency inside the organization; it’s that awareness that ultimately helps GM to connect with their customers.

Whether it’s concentrating on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions or major organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers or the Society of Women Engineers, Barrett said that companies must have relationships with