Fostering Diverse Leaders
In many technology companies, the employee base is often more diverse among individual contributors than it is in middle management and leadership. To address this, Autodesk is integrating diversity into its existing leadership development opportunities and building a diverse high-potential pipeline.
Autodesk has two primary approaches to developing diverse leaders. Autodesk regularly vets all of it existing leadership programs — approximately 5 different programs at present — to ensure diverse participation. The different dimensions of diversity are represented as gender, ethnicity, age and geographic diversity, since we have offices worldwide. To ensure there is a base of diverse high-potential employees to participate in these programs, Autodesk also launched this year its Emerging Leader Program, which focuses on employee populations that are less represented in upper-level management and provides them with professional development, mentoring, and networking opportunities. Autodesk also offers many professional development opportunities through its Employee Resource Groups.
We are in the pilot phase this year, but all existing programs have increased in their representation of women and underrepresented minorities by 5-10%, and our first class of Emerging Leader Program participants consists of 52 employees from across the company, 60% of whom are women and 12% who are from underrepresented minority groups.