Microsoft’s diversity initiative, Leap, is now being extended to women who want to return to work – women who had paused their careers to raise children or care for loved ones.
This diversity initiative is aimed at hiring women and minorities from unconventional backgrounds, such as self-taught coders and graduates of so-called coding boot camps. The camps typically consist of about 40 candidates who sign six- to eight-month contracts with the likelihood of full-time offers upon completion.
The exercise is meant to control the damage that has been caused over the years due to increasing cases of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Microsoft. The company sees this as an initiative that will bring more women into the team.
Microsoft received 238 internal complaints of gender discrimination or sexual harassment from 2010 to 2016, according to court filings made public in March. In 2017 itself, it dealt with 83 complaints of harassment and 84 cases of discrimination and in terms of gender diversity, women make up only 26 percent of Microsoft’s worldwide employees, and 19 percent of its leadership.
Leap is an immersive, 16-week program that provides candidates with real-world experience, through development and project management apprenticeships.
The company seeks diversity of participants with unique perspectives, who may have a non-traditional background or returning from time away from the workplace. The program combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on projects.
Microsoft strives to be a company that seeks and supports diverse perspectives while fostering a culture of inclusion. The LEAP program provides an alternative approach to talent sourcing, leveraging modern models and venues to find passionate and capable talent.