Tech giant Apple released a report on the diversity of its workforce Tuesday, but the results aren't very diverse. Of its 98,000 employees, 70 percent are male, while 55 percent of its U.S. employees are white.
These numbers are very much in line with figures reported by other Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo. In some cases, even the relatively small amount of diversity found in Apple offices represent a more inclusive workforce than those of its competitors.
Apple is hardly alone when it comes to the lack of gender parity among its workers. Google and Twitter have both said their workforces are 70 percent male, while Facebook has reported that 69 percent of its staff members are male. Among large Silicon Valley tech companies, only eBay comes close to actual equality as 42 percent of its workforce are female.
There isn’t much more upside to the numbers from the perspective of gender equity, and in some ways the numbers are even worse than they first appear. Only 20 percent of jobs Apple classifies as “technical positions” and 28 percent of the company's leadership roles are staffed by women.
CEO Tim Cook made it clear that he is not happy with the numbers. “Let me say up front: As CEO, I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page," he wrote in the report. "They are not new to us, and we've been working hard for quite some time to improve them. We are making progress, and we're committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products."
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who has written about the challenges of supporting female employees in her book “Lean In," placed the blame on the scarcity of female tech workers on the lack of candidates. She argued that because women represent only 18 percent of the graduates coming out of computer science programs, it is difficult for tech companies such as Facebook or Apple to push their staffing levels up to a 50/50 balance.
Beyond the lopsided ratio of male and female employees, the Apple report also acknowledges that the company’s workforce also remains monochromatic. Its U.S. workforce is 55 percent white, with Asian employees representing the largest single minority demographic at 15 percent. Blacks and Hispanics combined make up only 18 percent of the workforce.
Even those low levels are somewhat misleading, in that they include staff members working in Apple’s 254 U.S. retail locations. In terms of jobs with a technical focus, Hispanics and African-Americans make up only 13 percent of employees. In leadership positions, the picture is even grimmer: only nine percent of such jobs are held by blacks and Hispanics.
Nonetheless, Cook has made efforts to promote diversity within Apple’s workforce since taking the reigns of the company. He promoted Eddy Cue, a Cuban-American, to the position of senior vice president of Internet software and services. He also hired Angela Ahrendts as head of online and in-store retail.
Although technology companies have been tracking the diversity of their workforces for years and reporting them confidentially to the federal government, many have fought to keep their figures secret, arguing that the data constitute “trade secrets.” U.S. civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson has pushed companies for further disclosure, saying that increasing diversity in the technology community represents an important next step in the civil rights movement.
Posted: 2014-08-14 @ 12:32am PT
As a female engineer I agree it's difficult to get parity since the number of women graduating in STEM fields is so low. But also there is a bit of a good ole boys club. After graduating I interviewed with a well known engineering firm. They didn't hire me but the did hire the white male that they interviewed. He had worse grades than me and he didn't wear a suit to the interview. He never took the FE exam. Maybe I am being cynical and he had a stellar interview and seriously impressed them with his potential. In the end I moved to Germany where they have a real shortage of engineers and are even willing to hire women to fill engineering roles.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 11:45pm PT
This has to be one of the most pointless things I have ever read. Does anyone complain that 50% of hunters aren't female? How about 50& of deep sea fisherman or offshore drilling rig workers or the military or lumberjacks? Men obviously prefer certain jobs that women don't want to do in as large of numbers, and the small number of female graduates in computer science programs shows that.
The "mostly white" part is supremely stupid. The percentage of whites working for Apple is actually LOWER than the percentage of the general population. The percentage of blacks is also lower, but the percentage of Asians is higher. This is obviously due to the disparate level of interest among these groups.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 10:58pm PT
I thought most of you knew that the lepruchauns in Ireland required this racial makeup as part of being an Irish Company.
What's interesting is that all Apple Employees are also required to sign a non-disclosure agreement that they'll only use Irish Spring Soap too.
This is a non-starter until Apple decides it's an American company and desires to be a leader in following US Equal-Opportunity-Employer Law. But remember, earlier this month, Apple was also named in a lawsuit related to paying people wages for lunch breaks and overtime. This is also another Term & Condition that the Leprechauns in Ireland required. Likely, if you read your Apple Terms & Conditions paperwork carefully, you'll see that this is already disclosed.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 10:35pm PT
If you want gender parity, then females of the world need to start learning how to program and develop software. Until that happens, you won't see gender parity in technology companies like Apple. But who cares really? It's a non-story except by a very few who have nothing better to do than complain about it; and they are not creating companies and hiring people.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 10:33pm PT
Because Rev. Jesse Jackson wants the jobs to be handouts based on race, not qualifications.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 5:52pm PT
So Jesse Jackson is involved ... there is no hope! He is pretty much a one issue guy and he usually gets it all wrong, but never humble enough to admit it.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 5:15pm PT
Alright I am confused... what SHOULD the numbers be? Now the male to female ratio is bad, and these numbers may be skewed by retail stores granted... but if we simply just take the ethnicity numbers, what is wrong with these numbers? They basically mirror US population demographics (with whites actually being UNDER represented).
There is a major diversity conversation to be had with tech company demographics but... At least on the surface, I don't see I problem with Apple's numbers.
Again I am confused as to what the expectation is...
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 4:06pm PT
The booming sex industry in Silicon Valley is proof more women should go to engineering school.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 2:54pm PT
As a white Canadian living in the province of Alberta, in a small town, hours from any large city, I am still looking for 1 Asian, 1 person of colour and yes a redhead to have supper with, as depicted on all tv commercials, and yet nothing. Diversity is an illusion, made up for all.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 2:33pm PT
Did Jesse Jackson ever complain about diversity in professional basketball? It's qualifications and productivities rather than race that count, right?
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:38pm PT
100% of stay-at-home moms are female. I demand diversity!
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:22pm PT
Asians are 5 percent of the population but 15 percent of Apple's workforce, what about that?
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:22pm PT
At least the companies are talking about it. As a black man, with an advanced degree, it is a shame that more of us are not working in Silicon Valley.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:21pm PT
Jessie Jackson has a lot to learn and folks should ask the women in his life how "wonderful" he really is. Before one assume the position of an "elder" deserving of respect and to be listened to I suggest that simply being old would not be the only qualification necessary. Mr. Jackson would do well to look up the word "humble" in the dictionary then spend the rest of his hypocritical life practicing it.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:20pm PT
This is getting out of hand. The issue is not these companies hiring policies, but rather a lack of diversity in the profession it self. I am in IT and have worked in IT for 11 years with different companies. I have seen one "black american" and 2 "brown americans" (just good old americans in my book). apply for an open position in my whole career. This is an issue that needs to be tackled at the neighborhood level not land of pie and icecream fed level...We need to stop looking at things by color of skin and start looking at them on a socio economic scale. The majority of my generation are completely sick of beating this lame horse (im 33), BTW, the "black american" got the job as his test scores were the highest not due to racist affirmative action policies.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:17pm PT
and in other news...McDonald's Restaurant employees are mostly non-white and sometimes female...
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:13pm PT
While well written, this article makes the problem appear worse than it really is. If you look at demographic data for the USA, it's roughly 64% white, 16% hispanic, 12% black, 5% asian. Therefore Apple's numbers are not too far off. If you look at the demographic information for women in computing, you will find that only roughly 30% of IT jobs are held by women - again, not far off from Apple's numbers.
Lastly, in your opening statement you say that these numbers are about the same for Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc, yet the title of the article singles out Apple.
Just my two cents.
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:06pm PT
And it's one of the most successful companies in the world. So...
Ed R. Dyson:
Posted: 2014-08-13 @ 12:05pm PT
So why isn't Jesse Jackson out there encouraging blacks and hispanics to enroll in computer classes?