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Women In Comms

Apple Votes Down Diversity Proposal

Apple is making very slow progress towards diversity in its workforce, but not so slow that it feels it needs to introduce more aggressive proposals to increase diversity at the top.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) revealed its latest diversity figures as part of its EEO-1 Federal Employer Information Report, filed over the weekend. Compared to its previous report from the fall of 2014, the iPhone maker's employee base is now:

  • 30% women, up from 29% last year;
  • 8.6% black, up from 8% last year;
  • 11.7% Hispanic or Latino, up from 11.5% last year;
  • and among executives, senior officials and managers, 17% are female and 83.5% are white.

According to The Verge, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in August that the iPhone maker had added more than 2,200 black employees and 2,700 Hispanic employees, which is more than the 1,475 black and 1,633 Hispanic employees the EEO-1 suggests were hired in the past year.

Cook also said at the time that the company had hired 11,000 women between 2014 and 2015, a 65% increase over the previous year, but not enough to move the needle significantly. Its numbers for overall, tech and management female representation are lower in its EEO-1 filing than reported in the past as well.


Light Reading's Women in Comms non-profit is working to increase the number of women in the industry by providing information, networking, mentorship, access to jobs and support for women in the next-gen communications industry. Visit Women in Comms and get in touch to learn how you can get involved!


Apple is quick to point out that the EEO-1 is not a perfect measure of its success in improving its diversity. It feels it's made progress through other initiatives like a scholarship program for black students, funding of women and minority-owned businesses and sponsoring the Grace Hopper Conference. In fact, it has voted against a proposal put forth by an investor to more specifically increase diversity of its board and senior management. Apple said in a proxy statement that the measure would be "unduly burdensome and not necessary" given its other efforts.

Apple's relative lack of diversity and slow progress is not unique in the Valley. Most of the major tech companies, including Twitter Inc. , Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Facebook , have committed to transparency and trying to improve the gender divide, but have all set very low -- hopefully achievable -- goals for their yearly increases. (See A Vast Valley: Tech's Inexcusable Gender Gap.)

The good news is that it does seem to finally be a strategic priority for all of them. It could be getting competitive too as diversity has repeatedly proven good for business, not just PR. Twitter, for example, recently hired away Apple's VP of Diversity and Inclusion Jeffrey Siminoff to fill the same role there instead. (See More Women in Tech Is Critically Important.)

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

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kq4ym 1/30/2016 | 3:45:55 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers Yep, it could be that companies fudge the numbers and forecasts a bit to serve their public relations goals. But, nonetheless, when the actual results come out, it's going to be to their disadvantage if the numbers look bad.
kq4ym 1/28/2016 | 6:08:23 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers While there didn't appear to be a great difference between the two years, I'm almost thinking that the numbers make sense with the difficulty of getting enough qualified people to apply for the jobs. But, the one exception that seems to stand out is "among executives, senior officials and managers, 17% are female." I can't see why that percentage is so low. That seems to scream for improvement.
scmccann 1/22/2016 | 4:46:33 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers It's always great to see articles discussing diversity goals and current status.  I would also agree with the prior commenter. With Light Reading dedicating a section to diversity, it is understandable that it would lead to some readers looking at its list of editors, bloggers, etc and wonder if there is an effort here as well to deepen its existing diversity.  

Not meant as a dig at all, but perhaps something that can foster internal conversations. As a public face of technology, having a diverse set of faces can only help the overall cause.
danielcawrey 1/19/2016 | 10:02:14 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers I think that the technology companies are trying the best to add more diversity to their ranks. Sure, they set low goals, but I think that's because they want to ensure they actually meet them rather than not – that would be a huge media problem for them if they didn't
Sarah Thomas 1/19/2016 | 3:24:41 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers Well the editorial staff only has 13 editors, 5 of which are women, but all of which are white. I get your point, but not sure why it negates reporting on a huge, publicly traded tech company that is committed to diversity's latest numbers...

Seems like a logical explanation for the EEO-1 and an easy thing for Apple to clarify.
heretoday 1/19/2016 | 2:56:16 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers .... However, Apple does seem more diverse than say... the Light Reading editorial staff.... ;-)  I wonder what the Light Reading EEO-1 would look like if you were required to file.  Your public image is as white as the driven snow. Hmmm.

The answer to the question on the numbers discrepancy is pretty simple... no conspiracy theories there.  Each company required to report EEO-1 will have an entry EEO record at time of hire that virtually every employee responds too.  Then annually each company required to file an EEO-1 sends out an EEO survey, typically via email, to the entire employee population.  Participation is NOT mandatory and like every survey monkey you will only get a percentage back.

In the case of Apple, last year there are approx. 110,000 employees and approx. 72,000 responded to the EEO-1 survey monkey of 2015.  About 65% response... not bad.

Apple would have both their more complete / accurate record from the original hire date and the subset of records form the subsequent surveys.... just like most public companies of any large size.

Back to the Light Reading staff diversity........ care to share?
Sarah Thomas 1/19/2016 | 2:03:36 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers Ha. Surprisingly, they don't break it down by age.
mendyk 1/19/2016 | 2:00:22 PM
Re: Apple's diversity numbers Any info on how the child labor numbers changed?
Sarah Thomas 1/19/2016 | 1:59:23 PM
Re: PC insanity run amok I'm not a fan of quotas either, but there's a lot of evidence women can be the best qualified in a lot of cases if you're looking in the right way/places. There's more to it than that simplistic thinking.

And, "racist, evil, perverted, disgusting, etc"...really? Those are some big words...
rgrutza600 1/19/2016 | 1:48:43 PM
PC insanity run amok Call me old fashioned, but companies should hire the best qualified people without any attention to all that other stuff.  I find this quota system to be racist, evil, perverted, disgusting, etc...
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