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.
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, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading