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New UC Berkeley Survey Aims to Boost Tech Workplace Diversity

The University of California, Berkeley has partnered with the tech industry to change the way organizations recruit from the school’s college of engineering and help graduates identify employers that reflect their values. Technology companies can now complete a simple check-all-that-apply-survey to provide greater transparency to their recruiting processes and empower students to make more informed decisions on corporate culture fit when evaluating job offers while fostering adoption of evidence-based best practices.

After three years of working with executives from technology companies to identify important diversity metrics, the University of California Women in Tech Initiative at UC (WITI@UC), in collaboration with the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley, developed Berkeley’s Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Survey. By completing the brief survey, companies with an eye toward recruiting Berkeley engineering students can share their efforts to promote equitable, inclusive workplaces. Filling it out should take less than 15 minutes. Complete this form to take the first step!

Berkeley D&I JillJill Finlayson, director of the Women In Technology Initiative at Berkeley, joined the SEMI Workforce Development and Diversity and Inclusion councils during their late-September meeting to discuss the launch of the survey and outline why the university is driving the initiative. UC Berkeley plans to expand the survey to other colleges over the next year.

Finlayson noted that a SEMI member company was one of the first organizations to complete the survey, and she challenged the room to help “microelectronics to be the first industry to have multiple companies participate in the survey.”

SEMI spoke with Finlayson about the survey and its importance.

SEMI: Why is the survey being done?

Finlayson: Berkeley Engineering is committed to ensuring its graduates will be able to move smoothly into companies where all employees are welcome, valued and included. Together with WITI@UC, whose mission is to promote the equitable participation, persistence and advancement of women in tech, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, the college is promoting this survey as a foundational step to share employers’ adoption of metric tracking and inclusive policies, practices and benefits.

SEMI: What will be done with the information collected?

Finlayson: This information will be shared transparently with students and the public. The initial focus will be on companies recruiting at Berkeley, but the responses will be easily shared with students at other UCs and universities. This information will be available online.

Berkeley logo


SEMI: Which companies are participating in the survey?

Finlayson: All participating companies can be seen through the interactive portal, which will be  updated as responses are provided. The goal is for all companies that recruit engineering students on the Berkeley campus to complete the survey and update information annually. All science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based companies are especially encouraged to participate. In the future, the survey could be made available to all employers.

SEMI: How often is the data collected?

Finlayson: Updates will be collected annually. However, companies can contact Berkeley Engineering to submit updates as needed.

Berkeley survey 2SEMI: Will it be anonymous?

Finlayson: No, the data collected will be attributed to the company submitting the survey.

SEMI: Why aren’t you asking for real numbers or percentages?

Finlayson: At this time, and after conversations with companies, we decided the most expedient way to get started is to simply ask check all that apply questions to establish a baseline. In the future, we will work with companies to share more data. We also invite companies to share a message to students and to link to specific data on their website.

SEMI: Why would companies provide this information?

Finlayson: Sharing this data will help companies attract the diverse talent they are seeking. Technology companies are making efforts to improve workplace culture and to ensure everyone feels like they belong. This survey will give companies a platform to share their efforts, goals and commitment to inclusion. There has been a great deal of research that shows the return on investment for companies with diverse teams includes improved talent recruitment and retention, greater innovation and better financial performance.

Berkeley D&I Liu PQ


SEMI: Why would students care about this information?

Finlayson: This snapshot of data will help students make employment decisions that align with their values. Students are increasingly concerned about company culture and are seeking out workplaces where they can bring their authentic self to work, and where they can collaborate in an environment that deeply values everyone.

SEMI: Who fills out the survey?

Finlayson: The senior human resources executive at each participating company is responsible for ensuring the completion and accuracy of the information submitted in the survey.

Cristina Sandoval is manager of Workforce Development at SEMI. 

Topics: Workforce Development , talent , UC Berkeley , diversity and inclusion , University of California Berkeley , Women in Tech Initiative , WITI , Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Survey , engineering , human resources




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