Microsoft Corp (MSFT) is expanding a program intended for boosting employment of women looking to rejoin the workforce. The latest move follows several complaints regarding gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the company.
The returnship programs are usually designed for people who had suspended their careers for personal reasons, such as to raise children or for spending more time with family. Such programs have become increasingly famous in Silicon Valley.
Female workers accounts for 26 percent of Microsoft’s global workforce, and 19 percent of its higher management, according to diversity figures released by the company last September.
Human Resources Manager at Microsoft, Belen Welch recently said in a LinkedIn post that the company not only wants to empower comeback of women, but also wants to benefit from non-traditional talent pools.
The latest program is part of software maker giant’s LEAP diversity initiative, targeted at employing women and minorities from different backgrounds, including those who have learned coding on their own as well as graduates of boot camps, which usually include roughly 40 candidates, who sign a contract for 6-8 months with the possibility of getting full-time offer after completion.
According to job listings from Microsoft, the returnship trainees will join two different departments in Vancouver. The first one is related to video game studio and the other one is linked to augmented and virtual reality.
The court filings disclosed in March showed that the world’s biggest software company received 238 internal complaints related to sexual harassment and gender discrimination from 2010 to 2016. The company was charged in a Seattle federal court in 2015 for systematically refusing wage increase and promotions to female workers. However, the company denied these allegations.
Microsoft announced in March that it had coped with 84 complains of gender discrimination and 83 complains of harassment last year. It fired about 20 employees because of those complains.