Apple Inc. released a statement with their diversity numbers Tuesday. The resulting breakdown showed little actual diversity.
The report stated that 54 percent of Apple’s technology jobs in the United States are held by whites and a further 23 percent of these jobs are held by Asians. Additionally, the report showed that 80 percent of Apple’s worldwide technology jobs are held by men.
Diversity for Apple? It’s Not What You Think
Apple CEO Tim Cook released a statement alongside the report.
“Apple is committed to transparency, which is why we are publishing statistics about the race and gender makeup of our company. Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them,” said Cook on the diversity report website. “We are making progress, and we’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products.”
These numbers indicate a clear need on Apple’s part to increase their racial and sexual diversity within their company. But they aren’t captaining the diversity failure ship through Silicon Valley alone. Both Google and Twitter employ primarily men, their numbers holding steady at 70 percent of jobs held by males. Other popular websites follow a similar pattern. Facebook employs 69 percent men, Yahoo! employs 62 percent, LinkedIn employs 61 percent, Pinterest employs 60 percent, and eBay employs 58 percent men.
The report on Apple’s website is headed by a statement: “Inclusion Inspires Innovation.” The page before the report shows pictures of a ‘diverse’ Apple workforce, overlaid with statements about Apple’s commitment to diversity in their company. Below these pictures, Cook’s statement looms large as the demographic data sprawls along the margin of the page. Cook recounts Apple’s commitment to diversity and the steps the company has taken to achieve diversity in their workforce.
Cook first touches on diversity of the senior executives and leadership.
“I’m proud to work alongside the many senior executives we’ve hired and promoted in the past few years, including Eddy Cue and Angela Ahrendts, Lisa Jackson and Denise Young-Smith. The talented leaders on my staff come from around the world, and they each bring a unique point of view based on their experience and heritage. And our board of directors is stronger than ever with the addition of Sue Wagner, who was elected in July.”
He goes on to note the achievements and diversity of Apple staff.
“Kim Paulk. She’s a Specialist at the Apple Store on West 14th Street in Manhattan. Kim has a medical condition that has impaired her vision and hearing since she was a child…Walter Freeman…leads a procurement team her in Cupertino and was recently recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.”
Cook notes that Apple has “pledged 100 million dollars to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative to bring cutting-edge technology to economically disadvantaged schools.” He also states that Apple is a sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
You’re doing good things, Apple. But you could be doing better. You’ve got such a broad and wide-reaching platform. If you really want to increase diversity in your company, and hopefully serve as a model for other technology companies, start with education. Start with giving disadvantaged children the support their school districts need. Start with better STEM education and with eliminating the stigma around girls and the maths and sciences.
You’ve got the platform, Apple. Now do something about it.