By Marie R. Sylla-Dixon, Chief Diversity Officer, Raytheon Technologies
Last summer, as the nation grappled with issues of racial injustice and social inequity, Raytheon Technologies Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes joined a growing list of senior executives to declare that Raytheon Technologies, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies, would “help drive near- and long-term societal change.”
As a leading technology firm — one that employs 180,000 employees globally — we realized we had a responsibility to advocate for a more just and equitable world.
Historically, the call for justice and equity from corporate leaders has not always been bold, nor loud. For far too long, many Black Americans and other disadvantaged groups have been underrepresented in certain career tracks, particularly STEM fields such as engineering. It wasn’t until I started my own career that I realized how rare it was to be the Black daughter of a government computer scientist and an electrical engineer.
Today we know that inclusivity drives innovation. Millennials and Gen Zers, who will comprise the majority of the future workforce, will not only expect — but demand — that their work environments mirror the cultural pastiche of this world.
Achieving that diversity will require a concerted effort at every level of our company. That’s why we launched an ambitious multiyear action plan to create meaningful and measurable programs in four areas that we believe can drive significant impact: workforce diversity, public policy, supplier diversity and community engagement.
On the workforce diversity front, we are committed to achieving gender parity in our senior leadership roles by 2030. Additionally, we set specific targets to address the underrepresentation of people of color in senior roles, beginning in the United States. Both of these efforts will require mitigating bias in hiring practices and ensuring a diverse pool of candidates and interviewers.
As a Fortune 50 company we’re using our voice to advocate for public policies that support minority communities. This starts with leading a consortium of aerospace and defense companies to lobby for increased STEM education opportunities and minority representation in aerospace and defense fields.
The size and scale of our business enables us to drive economic growth across communities as both an employer and a purchaser of goods and services. Today we buy materials from more than 350 small and mid-sized companies in the U.S., and we want to make sure that we’re supporting minority-owned businesses where and whenever possible. We’re also analyzing data on underrepresented communities to inform where we can locate future business operations.
Finally, we plan to redouble our commitment to community engagement. We’ve committed to donate $25 million over five years to address education and food insecurity in racially and ethnically marginalized communities. These funds will not only address immediate community needs, but also support scholarship, mentorship and fellowship programs – many led by our devoted employees – that will fuel a future pipeline of diverse leaders.
What I’m sharing is just a sampling of the initiatives underway to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across our company and in the communities we serve. We will monitor, measure and report on our progress to ensure we’re taking the right steps and making the greatest impact.
I recognize that right now we have a unique opportunity to cultivate a new paradigm inside our company and, more broadly, across society. I believe that corporate America plays a pivotal role in enabling change and transforming communities into places where equity and opportunity truly prevail regardless of one’s background or life circumstances. I know that Raytheon Technologies is committed to leading the way, and I won’t stop until we’ve achieved what we set out to do.