From 2021 to 2022, I worked as a manager in Microsoft’s AI Platform division. I’ve been working in the software industry for over a decade, and while I’ve often encountered some combination of the words “diversity” and “inclusion,” how those words have been translated into culture and policy has varied dramatically over time and between companies. At Microsoft, I became concerned about diversity and inclusion policies that required me to sacrifice what I viewed as the best way to serve the company’s mission, particularly as it affected work prioritization, hiring, and promotion.
DEI commissars are well paid professional racists. They destroy company culture and in healthcare take resources away from patients. Here is a case study: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-fire-a-commissar
Very interesting. I'm a partner at the consulting arm of a Big 4 company (also writing using a pseudonym), and it's very similar to what happens in our firm.
We use these D&I metrics in many places, notably % of people in such groups. And while we tout our incredible numbers to the four winds, they're primarily located in support/admin and the lower ranks. Directors and partners, however, are primarily white males.
I agree that diversity in executive ranks would improve our problem-solving capability and our value to our clients. However, we do it precisely as the author writes: tipping the scales of recruiting and promotion so that more diverse people have a better chance.
By themselves, these efforts are not necessarily flawed. They do accelerate the diversity in the firm. The problem is that they have to work alone, with no complementary measures to improve training and retention.
So you get a situation in which, for example:
- We promote more diverse people to partner ranks - still very few, but more than meritocratic evaluation would promote alone;
- Then we leave them to fend for and find clients by themselves;
- By the end of the year, they have done worse than others (not all - some indeed do perform spectacularly! - but many don't);
- Since variable compensation is meritocratic with a mix of seniority and eat-what-you-kill, they tend to get lower bonuses and be perceived as not-quite-up-to-speed;
- Then a significant number either leave for an executive role, having achieved the partner-level stamp in their CVs; or get recruited by a rival firm since hiring bonuses are much more discretionary than end-of-year ones;
- And so, to make up the difference, we have to continue disproportionately promoting diverse directors and also recruiting diverse partners from other firms.
In conclusion, I'm not against giving a better shot at recruiting and promotion to diverse populations. But doing that and only that, with no extra support, no performance improvement or retention efforts, is a big shot in the foot.
It's remarkable that this system is allowed to operate in plain sight - notwithstanding the thousands of pages of non-discrimination laws and intrusive "civil rights" bureaucracies operating at every level of government.
It seems like every white man ever denied a job or promotion at MSFT has an open-and-shut discrimination claim.
Jason, I actually have an even more extreme story while working at Microsoft as a swe last year. Tldr: skip manager started ignoring resumes from men until he could reach 50:50 male/female hires in a certain hiring effort. He publicly shared this to his org as if it was something to be proud of. I’m not sure if others felt the same way, but I kept my mouth shut since I didn’t want to completely destroy my career. It’s reached a point of lunacy how tech management reacts to anyone who even wants to start a conversation around this topic. You will be quietly ushered out of the company if you question such hiring practices.
This D&I mandate also hurts the diverse candidates they are supposed to help! I feel like I may have been on the unfortunate receiving end of these policies:
I completed an OA for the MSFT AI Platform division and was invited to a 'hiring event' style virtual onsite. I'm also latino, which I checked upon filling out my application but didn't think anything of it.
My first interviewer ghosted me. My second one asked the hardest question I've been asked at any any company (a tree based dynamic programming problem) that he wanted me to complete in twenty minutes. For reference I've interviewed at Netflix and passed HC at Google so it's not like algorithmic questions are new to me.
The third interviewer wanted me to do edit distance (I hadn't seen that problem but I was able to complete it) in twenty minutes...
Later I found out the recruiter who reached out to me was a D&I recruiter. I really got the sense that the people interviewing me had no interest in hiring me. Maybe they had to check a box to meet a quota.
Maybe I just got unlucky with tough questions. Who knows. But I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that some hiring managers are annoyed at having to take extra interviews just to check a box, or are extra skeptical of candidates from certain backgrounds.
I used to work at Microsoft. This lethal trajectory started when the current CEO implemented a policy of explicitly financially rewarding discriminatory hiring. Annual bonuses for EVPs and above (I think) are calculated against org demographics, along with actual performance metrics.
Once you start giving your senior executives fatter bonuses in exchange for discriminatory hiring, it becomes completely inevitable. It's statistically impossible to achieve the desired outcomes without discriminating grossly against white people and Asian men, and incentivizing the discrimination guarantees it will happen. I don't know what your experience has been, but I knew Asian men (both South and East) who told me they were passed up for promotions and transfers on account of being men.
I hope managers start speaking out against this, in spite of the risks. There are plenty of non-woke companies out there who would love to hire ex-Microsoft employees, if you're willing to take a pay and benefits cut...and move. It's worth that price, though, to get out of a work environment that has become so poisonous and toxic to the silent majority.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I no longer work in corporate America, but I happen to have quite a few friends who work as recruiters for top social media, fintech, and other technology firms. During the pandemic I had a front row seat to their work-from-home professional lives — and what I heard and saw was absolutely appalling. One friend in particular would speak openly about discriminatory hiring practice (e.g., "this candidate was so strong, but he's a white male. I really want to put forward a black woman for this role."), either unaware or unbothered by the fact that such stated preferences are flatly illegal. He routinely discards the resumes/applications of men with "white" sounding names, and has separate sets of interview questions for white and BIPOC (his term) candidates.
This is not outlier behavior — it is the norm for recruiters at most top firms. The irony, of course, is that it does precisely nothing to balance the scales or create "equity" for historically disadvantaged populations: the black, Latino, trans, etc. candidates they're fighting over come from wealthy families, went to top universities, and share the same rapacious, PMC ideological fervor as their white coworkers. I knew several first-generation immigrants who worked at Uber during its boom years, and not once did I hear any of them express concern for the financial/working conditions of the drivers working as 1099 contractors. They talked a lot about the value of their stock options, though.
I've been experiencing more and more problems with MS Windows for the last couple years (at least). Perhaps Microsoft's lack of meritocracy hiring/promoting is part of the problem.
I'm a middle-aged white male. I worked at Microsoft at HQ in Redmond for a couple of years as a senior manager and left on good terms when we relocated for my wife's career. When I moved back to Seattle a few years later, after spending those years as a director at a larger company, I submitted a few resumes for Microsoft roles I knew I was qualified for. I got an instant call-back from a hiring manager for a quick-turn loop for a job supporting an exec I had worked with productively in my prior role.
Each candidate in a "slate" goes through a "loop" of several interviews with individuals or groups who would be peers or colleagues to the role Microsoft is interviewing to fill. Those people are on or adjacent to the hiring manager's team. If the candidate performs well in that first set of interviews, the loop proceeds to an interview with the hiring manager or the hiring manager's manager, or both.
All four individuals I met with during my loop, including non-native English speakers and people based in other countries, said these exact words to me in exactly the same tone:
"Well, you know that [exec] really want to hire someone into this role who [exec] can learn from, like the incumbent who is a young ... black ... lesbian."
I came home after my loop and told my wife, "I'm not getting that job."
And I was right.
What's interesting in this whole diversity thing and helping out only certain "disadvantaged" groups leaves other groups that are from diverse backgrounds to be discriminated against solely due to the colour of their skin i.e. people of slavic backgrounds.
Wow that sounded really gay. This diversity stuff barely changes who gets hired anyway, so who cares. Also everyone knows who the token hire is so they know who to ignore in meetings.
Woke stuff is pretty much exclusively white collar and especially advertised in these bigger monopolistic companies. It attracts leftists but doesn't actually have anything to do with socialism, so being woke has the effect of being the "leftist" moral veneer over the exploitative capitalism foundational to these businesses. These companies advertise their gay little commitments to diversity but are meanwhile busy cornering markets and squeezing customers with economic rent.
In short wokeness is how companies defeat any kind of nascent leftism so they can continue to monopolize and print money.
A friend consulted at Microsoft a few years ago (one consequence of their dysfunctional hiring practices is that they use lots of outside consultants to run even fairly significant projects). She worked with a female minority executive there who openly “joked” about not needing to do any work since they couldn’t fire her. Only she wasn’t joking.
What I find interesting is that these companies allow a cancerous DIE culture to essentially “disrupt and dismantle” them from the inside. It is after all the openly stated purpose of the trained cultural Marxists. White supremacy, the patriarchy and capitalism undermined in the same manner the Qing Dynasty lost their grip on China to what became the Republic of China. The big difference being it was the minority Manchus that were racially manipulated whereas the majority in the west are the ones under assault. Which leads me to believe that if the Marxists succeed our minority classes may find Stalin’s method of murdering or sending “marginalized” groups to war the “new sensibility” they find themselves living under.
For those interested in learning about a precursor to DIE training I recommend Robert J. Lifton’s “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totality ‘A Study of Brain Washing in China’”. This system is not only followed in DIE but also in Social Emotional Learning which is likely poisoning the schools your children or children you know attend. At casel.org the SEL ghouls are very open about the “conscientization” of students aka adopting the “standpoint of the people”. SEL will make DIE unnecessary when the students become workers with their indoctrination fully in place.
My ex-husband, who has for 30 years called himself female (recently also insisting he's 'mother' of our sons) used the affirmative action for female-owned businesses in the General Services Agency of the federal government. This means that he, a white male with 3 Ivy League graduate degrees, accrued as a male, while I raised our sons as an at-home mother, counts as "female owner" of the tech firm where he's now COO. He hid the fact that he was in an equity contract when I took him back to court for non-payment of child support. Recently, it became evident that our sons do not exist in his corporate world. I became a public school teacher and had the health insurance coverage, so they could be "invisible." Many of my Black friends are greatly insulted that a man such as the one who fathered my sons can get affirmative action for his company, carte blanche, while it is assumed they got this boost for their achievements. Meanwhile, as a teacher, I studied how to help all students, male and female, to think outside of the box, look at problems from many angles. Other than identity politics, how does one group or the other have a corner on the market of "diverse thinking?"
Ute Heggen, author, In the Curated Woods, True Tales from a Grass Widow (iuniverse, 2022)
Interesting how they exclude Asians. Thanks for posting this. I invest in stocks and this kind of thing will hit the bottom line eventually. I like to know when the companies are basically cooking the books. If MS is doing this for hiring can you imagine what happens in the finance department?
I've worked in MS till few months ago, and saw how all of those policies are circumvented by recruiters and managers focused on getting stuff done. For example we have switched to posting a single req for all of the division increase the chances of interviewing enough candidates who were considered diverse. After we have fulfilled the diversity requirement and until the req is closed we could hire whoever we needed on the same req. Personally, I have never been approached by HR asking me whether any of my team members were considered for promo and I had both female and latin-x developers on my team.