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Microsoft Uses US Women's Soccer Team To Explain Why It Doesn't Hire More Women 212

theodp writes: "It is not surprising that the U.S. women have been dominant in the sport [of soccer] in recent years. The explanation for that success lies in the talent pipeline," writes General Manager of Citizenship & Public Affairs Lori Forte Harnick on The Official Microsoft Blog. "Said another way, many girls in the U.S. have the opportunity to learn how to play soccer and, as a result, they benefit from the teamwork, skill development and fun involved. That's the kind of opportunity I would like to see develop for the technology sector, which presents a different, yet perhaps even more significant, set of opportunities for girls and young women. Unfortunately, the strength in the talent pipeline that we see in female soccer today is not the reality for technology. The U.S. is facing a shortage of Computer Science (CS) graduates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent." Going with the soccer analogy, one thing FIFA realized that Microsoft didn't is that if you want girls to play your sport, you don't take away their ball!
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Microsoft Uses US Women's Soccer Team To Explain Why It Doesn't Hire More Women

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  • Interesting.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @11:53AM (#50135485)

    There are more women working at MS that women contributing to the Linux community.

    • Re:Interesting.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:10PM (#50135581)

      As anybody that wants to can contribute to the Linux community, that should tell us something. (No, prissy, huge-ego women that barge in, want to tell everybody how to do things, predictably get ridiculed and pushed out again and then start to whine about that do not count as "wanting to contribute". Neither do female "kernel developers" where you are hard pressed to find a single meaningful commit. Those that actually want to contribute are welcome. Those that want to do politics are not.)

      This whole thing is about equal opportunity and women have had that for a long time now. It is not about equality, which involves forcing people to do things they obviously not want to do.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Ah I see you're talking about Randi Harper [archive.is] and her harassment against the Free BSD community for someone daring to have a different opinion then her. Yes, that Harper, the one who claims to have an anti-harassment group called "OPAI" and engages in harassment.

        The problem of course, is that the FOSS community operates on merit, to SJW's and radical feminists merit and meritocracy are verboten. They'd rather have racial and sex based quotas. If people want to see how bad it's gotten look at Github, and the [readwrite.com]

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Actually, I have never heard of Randi Harper. Just shows that the problem is real.

          Personal feelings have no place in technical decisions and in grading technical merit. Anybody that does not understand this has no place in any parts of the STEM field.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            Actually, I have never heard of Randi Harper. Just shows that the problem is real.

            Personal feelings have no place in technical decisions and in grading technical merit. Anybody that does not understand this has no place in any parts of the STEM field.

            Consider yourself lucky. She's been attacking a kernel developer in BSD for the last 4 months because he doesn't give a shit about her feelings, and she's trying to insert herself into the development by flagging down the misogyny train.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 18, 2015 @02:18PM (#50136221)

      They lack the beard growth required for OSF commits.

    • Re:Interesting.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @04:20PM (#50136767)

      The Linux community doesn't really stand a chance since Microsoft isn't 100% technical where as most of the "linux community" doesn't have any overhead or advertising or accounting or datacenters or call centers or executives or web designers or game developers or.... For instance up until recently Microsoft's highest level woman employed was in HR. There is no HR (although maybe there should be :P) on a github project.

      The other contributing factor is that Microsoft does hire a lot of women in technical positions but a lot of them are international where tech is viewed as just a "Good high paying job" not as "A bunch of geeks and mouth breathing virgins". That's why I always bang my head on the table when stories go something like this: "Tech is a toxic soup of misogynistic assholes... and we need more women to choose computer science!" Regardless if it's true as long as that stigma sticks around women aren't going to be knocking down the doors to be the first person to be victimized and discriminated against. However while women are far more likely to pursue tech in a developing country like India, it's mostly because "Tech is a good high paying job" not "Tech gives you the opportunity to contribute to an ideologically driven project that is an unpaid position in your free time!" That's the opposite of a "Good high paying job" that's a no paying job.

      Also the "Linux Community" is all around pretty small. It doesn't take *that* many people to create an operating system. Even if the Linux community had the same demographics as Microsoft it's safe to say that Microsoft employs about as many people to develop windows as the number of people working on the linux project. Both projects are similar in scope and design. By comparison, Microsoft not only makes windows they also have Office and Xbox and Azure and Microsoft Game Studios and Movies and Music and Hotmail and MSN.com and Cortana and Bing and Here and Lumia and Surface and... So you would need to do an apples to apples comparison of Microsoft's Windows Team vs the 'Linux Community'.

      • "Tech is a toxic soup of misogynistic assholes... and we need more women to choose computer science!"

        Please, *please* submit an article with this title to the Firehose.

    • Re:Interesting.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @05:42PM (#50137043) Journal

      According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent."

      Of course, there are not 140,000 new jobs. There are a whole bunch of layoff's, office closures that puts a bunch of programmers out of work [like, say, Microsoft did not too long ago].

      There are a whole bunch of already-graduated programmers that are explicitly rejected from these 'new jobs' because they can't afford to work cheap enough.

      H1B's to the rescue!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Some engineering degrees (Computer, Electrical), math degrees, etc. can be used in lieu of a CS degree provided you can prove you can code.

    This is all pandering to the need that companies HAVE to go get H1-B's, when the reality is no, there is PLENTY of local talent that can do these jobs.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:09PM (#50135569) Homepage

      Not everyone in IT even needs a STEM degree. A lot of position are more about soft skills anyways. There are also people who thrive in tech positions without a STEM degree.

      I even know someone that managed to get promoted into IT off of a factory floor.

      This is more about the consequences of large corporations treating their employees like disposable cogs to be laid off by the "Two Bobs" guy during the next business lull. They are no longer wiling to invest in their own people, even the ones that have gone to great effort and expense to be desirable as new hires.

      You don't have to be terribly talented to be a tech worker in the large companies. Actually, it helps if you're not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You don't have to be terribly talented to be a tech worker in the large companies. Actually, it helps if you're not.

        Yep. I once worked for a talented manager and he was able to find a place for just about everyone. He put the "lesser" talents on projects that would bore the shit out of the "geniuses". And many times, the "lesser" guys did some excellent work - even genius work.

        People are too quick to discount others in this profession these days. It wasn't like that when I started 25 years ago. If you loved tech and learning, you were part of the crowd. Now things have gotten cliquish and even elitist where the entry ti

      • And, with the incredible amount of wasteful digital projects that consume human labor, I question whether we really NEED 140,000 new computer people each year. I'd say about half of the projects I have worked on within the last decade have been canceled before completion. Mine can't be the only company engaged in such misdirected waste. Do we really need so many Linux distributions? Does MS really need to shuffle the features around in its latest operating system? Why do the newer web browsers seem to
    • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:33PM (#50135701) Homepage Journal

      Some engineering degrees (Computer, Electrical), math degrees, etc. can be used in lieu of a CS degree provided you can prove you can code.

      In fact, a CS degree is not proof that you can code, it is proof that you understand the theory of Computer Science. An associates degree in computer programming from a trade school proves you can code.
      More than likely, a CS major can code. Almost certainly a Computer Engineer can code. Lots of people can code. There is no shortage of people who can meet the demands of these 140,000 jobs. In fact, Microsoft just laid off 6,000 people that can fit the bill.
      Looking more closely, the article says that 100,000 jobs require a CS degree. So they are being specific here. They need 100,000 people who went through college to understand the theory of Computer Science. Not programs, very specifically they need Computer Scientists. I'm not sure why. In fact, I think that they don't understand the requirement they are asking for. I am guessing they want code monkeys, not Computer Scientists. In which case, we have those available in spades.

      • by pr0fessor ( 1940368 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:54PM (#50135821)

        Alright I have to say it... if there are 140k US jobs for CS each year in a decade that will be 1.4 million jobs and will employee over one third the entire population not the workforce which is smaller the population includes everyone. Anyone with a CS degree should be able to get great pay in their field since only 28% of new jobs will actually be filled, and that doesn't appear to be the case.

        No I think there is something funny with their claim.

        • Damn I got an extra decimal... now you know why I'm not a mathematician.

          Still if only 28% of the jobs are being filled why the heck aren't they paying more.

          • Damn I got an extra decimal... now you know why I'm not a mathematician.

            Still if only 28% of the jobs are being filled why the heck aren't they paying more.

            Game/set/match.

            Presumably, in the inviolable laws of supply and demand, the pay will go up, until the demand is met.

        • There are lies, damn lies, and then statistics. This is a classic example of the last item in that list.
        • No I think there is something funny with their claim.

          Not necessarily. After the Great Recession came and went, a lot of the old farts are still hanging on to their jobs, refusing to retire and make room for young whipper-snappers like myself to make big bucks. The shortage of skilled tech workers TODAY is the reason why I went back to school to learn computer programming after the dot com bust. Too many old farts can't afford to retire.

      • In fact, a CS degree is not proof that you can code, it is proof that you understand the theory of Computer Science.

        More to the point, it's proof that you have massive student debts so you're likely to put up with abuse to keep repaying them.

        • I went back to community college to learn computer programming after the dot com bust in 2001, taking two classes per semester for five years while working 80 hours per week as a video game tester. Uncle Sam picked up the tab for all my courses with a tax credit to learn new job skills. I make more money — and pay more in taxes — today than I did 15 years ago.
      • More than likely, a CS major can code. Almost certainly a Computer Engineer can code. Lots of people can code.

        Are you sure [codinghorror.com] about that?

  • Subject (Score:4, Insightful)

    by itamihn ( 1213328 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @11:58AM (#50135505) Homepage

    When I studied CS there were 5 women and 200 guys in my class. With that in mind, complaining about an IT company not hiring many woman is nonsense.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Same here. And the women in my CS starting year (where I knew 5 of the 9 by random accident) universally had a very dim view of women that went to study easy subjects. Their explanation of why so few women study CS was that "the little ladies do not want to work hard and get their hands dirty doing actual work" (translated literal quote from one of them). This whole idea of looking at gender statistics and then deducing there is a problem is stupid. As such, it is quite in line of what SJWs usually say and

      • Re:Subject (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DrLang21 ( 900992 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:14PM (#50135921)

        This whole idea of looking at gender statistics and then deducing there is a problem is stupid.

        That part isn't stupid. What is stupid is deducing that the solution involves creating new incentives for young women to go into computer science. It's a far deeper cultural phenomenon*. People don't like to admit this though because addressing deep seeded cultural phenomena require generations to change. That's no good for politicians who can't see any further than the next election cycle or executives who can't even see further than the next annual earnings report.


        * Note I use the word "phenomenon" and not "problem". Whether or not any cultural phenomenon is a problem is besides the point.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Well, I used the word "problem" and for a reason. Because this is universally sated as a problem. If you downgrade it to "phenomenon", then rationality sets in and the determination of whether something needs to be done or not is still open.

          Here is another one: It seems that 100% of babies are carried to term by women. By the same reasoning as above, this would be a "problem" and statistics urgently need to be adjusted on that. See how stupid that is? I was merely pointing that out.

        • What is stupid is deducing that the solution involves creating new incentives for young women to go into computer science.

          All you need to do is ask a 8-12 year old girl what she wants to do and figure out how to get software to help her do that. "Programming" is just a means to an end to let lazy us lazy people take over the world. Find something, anything, repetitive and boring and figure out how to automate it. That's what software does for me. Software, for me and thousands of others, isn't the end game it's a tool to allow me to be lazy. If a 10 year old girl is tired of having to do _________ on the computer teach her how

      • Their explanation of why so few women study CS was that "the little ladies do not want to work hard and get their hands dirty doing actual work" (translated literal quote from one of them).

        Which is odd, considering many of them become mothers. When that happens, I can't imagine any part of their person or environment stays clean [theoatmeal.com] very long.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Which comes as a surprise to many of them and hence may not influence choice of career much or at all. But the main deterrent seems to be the hard mental work required.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:01PM (#50135521) Homepage Journal

    The important part of the article that was left out of the summary is that Microsoft is trying to address the problem by funding programs that encourage girls to get into the talent pipeline at a young age and stick with it.

    • The headline, I think, is the worst part; the choice of "doesn't" (vs. "can't") sets up the expectation that MS is refusing to hire qualified women. Perhaps that's true on some level, but it's certainly not the story...
  • by mileshigh ( 963980 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:09PM (#50135563)

    As a tech marketing lady I met observed, the men make the stuff and the women sell it in our industry. She added "maybe that's because we're smarter about getting paid!"

    Might help if Microsoft, among others, stopped supporting increased tech H1-B quotas. They tend to depress wages and working conditions, making the "pipeline" we're trying to promote less attractive than, say, marketing. Or doctoring or lawyering. There are only so many really smart people to go around, so one profession's gain is another profession's loss. Design engineers seem to have plateaued around very roughly $100K. That's an OK living, but not exactly what I'd call professional earnings.

  • Stop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 ( 1563847 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:09PM (#50135567)
    So the argument is that because more women don't take Computer Science degrees that results in less women being hired, so don't take Computer Science away from them?

    Very few women actually enroll in Computer Science / Engineering Programs, as a result this means that the talent pool from which to hire from contains less females vs males. This doesn't mean that big commons don't want to hire women, it just means that there aren't a lot of qualified women pick from.
    • The FIFA exception for excellence in achievement for US women is steeped in the opposite supply and demand curve. There are plenty of qualified applicants to choose from.

      Unlike athletically gifted American males, who often choose to make a career in baseball, hockey, basketball, and the other football, there isn't as much competition for the athletically-gifted females.

      It's precisely why the US women are a force to be reckoned with, and the men are not. Soccer, the World's football game, gets a great dea

      • Exactly, so because very few women ever take a degree in Computer Science or Engineering that mean's the total number of women to possibly pick from is very low, hence even fewer of them will be picked from the talent pool. This all goes back the argument that just because you have a post secondary qualification, doesn't mean you should get a job. If 2% of an Engineering / Computer Science program is comprised of females then that means the total talent pool to pick from for an employer will be 2% female
  • by supremebob ( 574732 ) <themejunky@nOSPAm.geocities.com> on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:11PM (#50135587) Journal

    Why don't you try offering them MORE MONEY, and watch the problem resolve itself! It might not be cool, but classic labor Economics still works in the 21st century.

    Of course, Microsoft (or any other big tech company) doesn't really have a reason to do that as long as they can get a bunch of cheap H1-B workers to fill the positions instead.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:20PM (#50135637)

      Why don't you try offering them MORE MONEY

      Because gender discrimination in pay is illegal.

      • I think that domestic software engineers should be paid more in general regardless of gender. That's my somewhat biased opinion, since I fall under that category. I don't want my kid to follow in my footsteps, since I'm not sure if there will be any well paying entry level jobs in this field by the time she graduates.

        That said, offering bonuses or other incentives to get more diversity in the CS field wouldn't be a bad thing.

        • IThat said, offering bonuses or other incentives to get more diversity in the CS field wouldn't be a bad thing.

          Yes it is a "bad thing". It is also an "illegal thing". Institutionalized racism and sexism are outlawed for good reasons.

    • by jopsen ( 885607 )

      Why don't you try offering them MORE MONEY, and watch the problem resolve itself! It might not be cool, but classic labor Economics still works in the 21st century.

      Of course, Microsoft (or any other big tech company) doesn't really have a reason to do that as long as they can get a bunch of cheap H1-B workers to fill the positions instead.

      An MSc in CS takes 5 years... So that's a very very long term plan... Also not feasible...
      To make people choose CS for money to a larger extent than they already do you would have to double or triple wages... Wages that are already high enough to incentivise studying CS for the money.

      Anyways, people don't choose everything in their lives with their wallet. What a sad world that would be.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:11PM (#50135591)

    every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent

    Is this statistic really true? Are those 140,000 net new jobs, or just job openings that exist for some period of time during the year?

    The article cites but does not link to a source for this statistic.

    Also, a CS degree is a long, tough slog through dull material that has dubious relevance to most jobs that require a CS degree.

    • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:39PM (#50135741) Homepage Journal

      every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent

      Is this statistic really true? Are those 140,000 net new jobs, or just job openings that exist for some period of time during the year?

      The article cites but does not link to a source for this statistic.

      Also, a CS degree is a long, tough slog through dull material that has dubious relevance to most jobs that require a CS degree.

      Those are 140,000 openings, so you don't necessarily need new graduates to fill them. You can fill them from other companies (which in theory leaves the same number of openings, but most companies don't fill voids, they just make the other people work harder), or you can fill them from unemployed CS people, of which there are tens of thousands, if not more. There are at least 6,000 more as of a week ago, when Microsoft, the company complaining about the worker shortage, fired 6,000 people.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        when Microsoft, the company complaining about the worker shortage, fired 6,000 people

        What Microsoft really wants is more choice without paying for choice. They have a picky hiring process and want what they want. They don't care about society issues or trade-imbalances, that's somebody's else' problem. They just want cheap young choice, and lobby heavily for it.

        • when Microsoft, the company complaining about the worker shortage, fired 6,000 people

          To be perfectly fair, they were mostly Finnish...

          What Microsoft really wants is more choice without paying for choice. They have a picky hiring process and want what they want. They don't care about society issues or trade-imbalances, that's somebody's else' problem. They just want cheap young choice, and lobby heavily for it.

          The correct code word for "younger workers" this week is "digital native". Last week it was "recent graduate". We have "whippersnapper" penciled in for next Tuesday.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      This is the number of graduates the industry wants, so they can hire the best and pay them nothing.

    • every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent

      Is this statistic really true? Are those 140,000 net new jobs, or just job openings that exist for some period of time during the year?

      This is the same company that two weeks ago just laid off 8000 American workers in their annual summer layoff program.

      And almost exactly one year ago laid off 18,000 American workers in their annual layoffs.

      And almost exactly two years ago laid off multiple divisions, with an unspecified number (estimated in the thousands) of American workers.

      And 2010, they laid off about 35% of it's American work force.

      And in the summer of 2009, another 6000.

      ...

      Every year they reduce their staff by 5000-20,000 in Ame

    • This is a common tactic used to keep the H1B-type labor programs going in Congress. You get a bonus with H1B labor programs keeping domestic labor costs down and therefore depressing the number of entrants in the field.

    • every year there are close to 140,000 jobs requiring a CS degree, but only 40,000 U.S. college graduates major in CS, which means that 100,000 positions go unfilled by domestic talent

      Is this statistic really true? Are those 140,000 net new jobs, or just job openings that exist for some period of time during the year?

      If it were true, wages would be sky high. Ipso facto, it is not true.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:15PM (#50135605)
    that's what FIFA is good at.
  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:33PM (#50135697) Journal

    The story submitter and/or editors clearly had some agenda here in using a misleadingly suggestive title.

  • Fortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:37PM (#50135721) Homepage Journal
    Fortunately, in technology as in soccer, nobody has taken away the ball, and the women that are interested in the field have just as much if not more opportunity than males to learn, study and pursue a career in Computer Science, and the whole article is bullcrap.
  • No one cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @12:40PM (#50135751)

    Enough of the gender/race baiting nonsense.

  • by jmac_the_man ( 1612215 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @01:21PM (#50135959)
    It's interesting that Slashdot quotes the Microsoft guy as saying "The training pipeline for women in IT and CS isn't very good" when the thesis of his article is undoubtedly "Here's how Microsoft is improving the training pipeline for IT and CS. One result of this is that there will be more qualified women in the training pipeline."

    This is an incredibly dishonest way to frame this guy's remarks. Slashdot and Dice should be ashamed.

  • Wow, to aspire to the high moral standard of FIFA leadership in maintaining fairness for all.
  • The reason women succeed at soccer is that there are no men in that field in the US.
    That's Blue Ocean strategic thinking: if you want to succeed, go to uncontested markets.

  • ... that more men work at Microsoft than women is simply because more men apply to worth there in the first place.

    And for any women that might express discomfort with the fact that the workplace is primarily male as a disincentive apply to such a place, I would suggest that is ultimately just a manifestation of their own insecurities (cue the feminists who will call me a misogynist upon reading that)... but my point is that it is *THEY* who are focusing on the gender differences, and not necessarily Mic

  • It irritates me every time I hear this ruddy nonsense that keeps spewing out of Seattle and San Fransisco that we're not cranking out enough computer science graduates.

    Hey Microsoft! Newsflash! Computer science majors rise and fall [nsf.gov] as starting salaries rise and fall [cra.org].

    If you want to see more majors, raise your starting salaries. Stop firing [zdnet.com] everyone [qz.com] and outsourcing to India [indiatimes.com].

  • Because FIFA paid the LOSERS in men's soccer more than they paid the winners in women's soccer.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday July 18, 2015 @04:21PM (#50136773)

    Why would anybody, in their right mind, get a CS or IT degree if they knew how shitty the environment was?

    Microsoft and every other tech company: We want talent, but we don't want to pay for it. Give us more H1-B workers to cut the average salary, please.

    Game corps: We slave-drive our workers, because it's better to take young talent and burn them out so they leave before they get too expensive. Which is why we're always re-inventing wheels.

    IT: Dealing with really ungrateful idiots every day, all week, all year. The higher-up the chain, the stupider (with tech) they are.

    Why would anyone, male or female, bother to get into this?

    Fuck it. Play soccer.

    --
    BMO

  • Let's see how the women's soccer team does against the men's soccer team. So the unspoken argument is that you should hire inferior people to fill the role.

    Somehow, I do not think that is the message they want to get across.

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