How IBM invests in opportunities to reach maximum equitable impact

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At IBM, we strive each day to achieve our purpose; to be the catalyst that helps makes the world work better. We endeavor to be at the forefront of groundbreaking changes in the industries we serve and the global community at large. None of this would be possible without skilled and talented IBMers.

Businesses should make equity in the workplace a priority. Corporations have a vested interest in doing so because it leads to greater innovation and better outcomes for customers. Today, I want to share some examples that highlight IBM’s 2022 progress in the area of social impact.

Laying the foundation with skills

As members of a global community, we recognize the need to drive systemic change that prepares people for jobs of the future. That is why we take our commitment to providing career training, learning opportunities and career growth very seriously. Educational pathways are critical to opening windows of opportunities for all people, regardless of age or education level. In 2022, we put this into practice by supporting IBMers and our external communities with comprehensive training programs.

  • In 2022, we increased the hours of learning per employee. This year, we are working on refreshing our programs, to accelerate skill growth and bring more relevance and personalization. Through our learning resources, Your Learning and Your Career at IBM, IBMers are positioned to accelerate skill growth and gain more relevant skills to gain efficient and personalized manner. This can allow for deeper learning in less time.
  • IBM has invested in apprenticeship and new-collar programs globally. We are committed to investing $250 million by 2025 across the world. We have hired over 900 apprentices through our U.S. program, and we are bolstering the program around the world in 2023. Since the start of the IBM Apprenticeship Program, 90% of all program graduates have started full-time careers at IBM.
  • Taking our education philosophy externally, we had over 7 million learners enrolled in free IBM courses through our combined education initiatives, putting us on track to meet our goal to skill 30 million people by 2030. To achieve this, we have announced more than 250 partnerships around the world in the last two years, including collaborating with over 20 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to establish IBM Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.

Continuous investment on DEI

At IBM, we are continuously building a culture of conscious inclusion and active allyship, where every IBMer can make a positive impact on society while bringing their authentic selves to work. This culture is underpinned by strategies to reinforce our focus on improving the diverse representation of our workforce. Some examples of our work in 2022 include:

  • Championing all diverse communities of IBMers, including Women, LGBTQ+, Diverse Ability, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and Veteran, and over 200 Business Resources Groups, adding 22 last year.
  • Increasing year-over-year representation across all levels for women globally, and Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pan-Asian communities in the U.S.
  • Progressing towards our commitment to 4 million volunteer hours by 2025, with over 437,000 volunteer hours logged last year. In addition, we are ramping up our volunteerism efforts with the implementation of the new IBM Community Engagement Portal to enhance our IBMers volunteering experience.

We believe the strength of our workforce hinges on creating a diverse and inclusive culture. As such, we actively curate an inclusive environment that encourages learning and exploration of new ideas that foster a culture of conscious inclusion and active allyship. In addition, we build Diversity Equity and Inclusion programs to support hiring and retaining members of historically underrepresented communities. For example, the IBM Pathways program created in 2011 to increase the diversity of our technical leadership and executive teams. Also, the License to Hire, a 90-minute online training program designed to promote a more inclusive hire and selection process.

Positive impact through our suppliers

Finally, IBM requires first-tier suppliers to create and maintain a management system to address their social responsibilities within a year of starting to do business with us. In 2022, we worked with over 10,000 suppliers of hardware, software, and services, and continued to promote social responsibility among our global supply networks.

IBM is a founding member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) and requires our first-tier suppliers of hardware, software, and services to adhere to the RBA Code of Conduct, which contains provisions on labor, health and safety, environmental requirements, ethics, and management systems. IBM helps suppliers meet our requirements by providing and facilitating education, which we regularly update.

Last, but not least, we recognize that having a diverse supplier base is integral to our company’s profitability and strategic objectives, and a way to cultivate new ideas. That’s why we require our first-tier suppliers to report their own diverse supplier expenditures, and we are making progress towards our commitment to have 15% of our first-tier supplier diversity spending dedicated to Black-owned businesses by 2025. By leveraging the power of people, technology, and resources, we can maximize our equitable impact worldwide. You can learn more about IBM’s journey in our IBM Impact Report 2022.

Read the 2022 IBM Impact Report

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