Apple Diversity Report: Making Efforts, But Still Not Enough

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s latest diversity report does not show a very healthy mix of male and female employees in the organization, revealing that the workplace is still dominated by male and white workers. Though the iPhone maker did make some progress in hiring of minorities, efforts to hire more women fell flat.

Apple diversity report
Photo by geralt (Pixabay)

More work needed

Apple notes that female representation is “steadily increasing,” and is up by 5% from 2014. Further, the report notes that 36% of the employees under 30 are women, while overall it is 32%. In the leadership role, 295 of the leaders in the company are women, up 1% from July 2016.

In the report, Apple stated that “meaningful change takes time,” but with 130,000 employees even “small percentage point changes” affect thousands of people. The company stated that an increase of 2% in the female representation totals to 37,000 female hiring.

The iPhone maker noted that from July 2016 to July 2017, half of the new hires in the U.S. were from underrepresented groups such as Black, Hispanic, Women, Native American and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.

According to the diversity report filed by Apple on Thursday, in higher management, 81% of the senior officials are male, and 82% of them are white. Out of a total 107 leaders in the company, four are Asian women, 10 are Asian Men, one is a black woman and two are Hispanic men. There are no Hispanic women in a leadership role. The underrepresented minorities increased from a meager 1% to 23%.

However, in the U.S., Apple’s white workforce has come down to 54%, a drop of 2% from a year earlier. “We’re proud of our accomplishments, but we have much more work to do,” Apple said. The report doesn’t just include engineers and designers but also Apple Store employees.

First diversity report under Smith

It is Apple’s first diversity report under the Vice President of Diversity, Denise Young Smith, who took the new role in May after serving as the head of Apple’s human resource department since 1997. Smith’s recent comments on diversity did not settle well with everyone.

“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” Smith said at the recent One Young World Summit, in Colombia, according to Quartz. However, she apologized later.

Lack of diversity is not a new thing in the Silicon Valley, and from time to time concerned authorities do try to encourage companies to make their workforce more diverse.

Just a month back, members of the congressional Black Caucus advocated for the increased representation of minority workers by visiting the Silicon Valley. Lawmakers, however, were disappointed with the response, saying the companies just did hollow talk about the diversity, without doing anything about it on the ground level, notes The Hill.

In a letter sent to 32 top companies last month, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), first vice chair, noted that the tech sector employs 7 million people in the U.S. and contributes more than $1.3 trillion in economic activity in the country, but in tech and “gig economy” companies, Hispanics are continuously underrepresented and underfunded.