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Our employees receive training on the job, as well as in more formal settings. In response to employee feedback, we are expanding educational programs. We have reinstated our tuition reimbursement program and corporate paid tuition to programs at the Stanford Center for Professional Development. We’ve also invested in corporate memberships to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery, and we will make their educational libraries available to our employees.
In 2010, NVIDIA promoted approximately 20 percent of our workforce, which is higher than prior years, reflecting an enhanced focus on talent development. Of 1,209 promotions, 33 were promoted to the level of director or above, and 894 (73 percent) were from minority classes. Ten percent of the women in our organization were promoted in 2010.As a further step to ensure we retain our talent, we created an internal job board so that employees could see opportunities across the company and use it to better plan their development and career path within NVIDIA.
As part of our focus on total compensation, we provide employees with a higher-than-average benefits package, which includes health, life and disability benefits, employee assistance, discounts, medical leave, and more (see NVIDIA benefits for more information).
A key aspect of our compensation program is focused on making employees shareholders in the company through the provision of restricted stock units to all employees, as well as a generous employee stock purchase plan (ESPP). During the past year, 86 percent of employees participated in our ESPP, which brought an average return of approximately 91 percent of funds (as a percent of contribution) invested into the program by employees.In response to employee requests for greater insight into compensation, we created a new internal website with educational resources and tools to ensure that employees understand their total pay as well as how performance is linked to pay.
Employees get the recognition and compensation they deserve for giving their best, especially in times of need. At the same time, we recognize that people have lives outside of work. As much as possible, we try to support employees and their families with comprehensive benefits to help them lead healthy, balanced lives.
We know that achieving work-life balance can be hard, especially in a hard-driving culture such as ours. That is why we monitor how our people feel about their work-life balance on our employee survey and try to make regular improvements company-wide.Our employees consistently rate us above industry average when it comes to supporting them and their efforts to achieve work-life balance. Our commitment to a healthy balance is reflected in our benefits, which include programs to help employees deal with stress and time-management challenges, flexible work hours, professional time off, and an array of convenient onsite services. Our employees are supported in their important life events through our global Employee Assistance Program and a generous leave program.
The level of diversity at NVIDIA is representative of the technology and engineering industries as a whole. Roughly three-quarters of NVIDIA employees are engineers, a field that is historically male-dominated. We seek to address gender imbalances in the technology and engineering fields through strategic grants offered as a part of our community engagement efforts, as well as support through programs aimed at increasing the numbers of women and minorities in engineering.