A renewed commitment to progress

The events of 2020 amplified the need for swift and greater progress from society and businesses. Although COVID-19 disrupted all our lives, many working women were particularly challenged and millions left the workforce. We also witnessed social injustices that sparked a global movement, bringing conversations about inequality to the forefront. In response, IBM is accelerating its diversity and inclusion journey with a focus on four strategic areas.

We have intensified our commitment to advocacy efforts aimed at driving systemic, sustainable improvement in opportunities for diverse communities. For example, IBM has created more equitable pathways for people to acquire tech skills, and much of our hiring now prioritizes skills over academic degrees. These opportunities can help close economic divides and bring more women back into the workforce.

IBM strives to create a culture of conscious inclusion and active allyship in which every IBMer is an upstander—standing up for justice, fighting bias and supporting every colleague. For example, our Be Equal® campaign has engaged tens of thousands of IBMers worldwide to pledge their commitment to allyship.

We want all IBMers’ employee experience to help them thrive and bring their authentic selves to work. IBM provides a wide variety of development and career acceleration programs, including many that champion diverse communities. This commitment has led to a range of industry-leading innovations, such as same-sex partner benefits for IBMers in 50 countries. 

IBM harnesses data transparency and AI to enable accountability, action and outcomes for increased diversity representation at every level of our company. While we have taken significant actions and made progress, we continue to address underrepresentation at all job levels.

The IBM 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Report includes more detail on IBM’s priorities, programs and progress, along with stories of IBMers that illustrate how life-changing diversity and inclusion in action can be.

Headshot of Obed Louissaint

I believe diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a decision. If we want to tap into peoples’ creative potential, inclusion must be infused in everything we do—from how we select and develop our people, to programs, policies and values which ultimately shape our culture over time.

Obed Louissaint

Senior Vice President, Transformation and Culture

Headshot of Obed Louissaint

I believe diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a decision. If we want to tap into peoples’ creative potential, inclusion must be infused in everything we do—from how we select and develop our people, to programs, policies and values which ultimately shape our culture over time.

Obed Louissaint

Senior Vice President, Transformation and Culture

IBM HBCU Quantum Center

IBMer taking notes

IBM’s initiative promotes a diverse quantum workforce.

IBM’s quantum computing education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), announced in 2020, is aimed at fostering a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce. The multiyear investment is designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. In six months, the center’s membership grew from 13 to 23 HBCUs.

The IBM Academic Initiative is also supporting HBCUs with in-kind donations of technology, assets, resources and skills development valued at $100 million.

These investments are intended to create innovative experiences for HBCU students to acquire the skills necessary to unlock economic opportunity—and to help quantum computing develop with a diverse community of researchers and professionals.

IBMer taking notes

IBM’s initiative promotes a diverse quantum workforce.