Apple Inc. (AAPL) Serious About Diversity But Makes Slow Progress

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has been emphasizing the importance of workplace diversity. Though it is pleasant news that the firm is serious about the issue, the changes it are making is slow, as is evident from the latest numbers on the tech giant’s workforce.

Apple improves diversity, but marginally

Apple submitted an annual report to the U.S. government stating that the percentage of Hispanic, Asian and black employees went up by very small numbers. In 2014, Apple’s U.S. workforce was just 27.7% women, and in 2015, this percentage crept up to 30%. Though the company has made minor improvements, the majority of its workforce still is comprised of males and whites.

Apple’s report, which reflects its U.S. workforce as of August 1, 2015, showed that 8.7% of the company’s employees were black, while 11.8% were Hispanics. In 2014, these figures were 8% and 11.5%, respectively. The biggest gain was seen in the percentage of Asian employees, who were at 16.3% in 2014 but went up to 17.4% in 2015.

The percentage of female employees in the company’s U.S. workforce also went up, but the share of women among the company’s top ranks declined. Of the 7,356 managers and senior executive positions at the company, 27.7% were occupied by females last year, but this year the percentage declined to 27.1%. As of August, Apple had 72,494 employees.

Issue will take time to resolve

In a note on its diversity website, Apple said its EEO-1 form is not the best measure of its progress.

“The EEO-1 has not kept pace with changes in industry or the American workforce over the past half century. We believe the information we report elsewhere on this site is a far more accurate reflection of our progress toward diversity,” the note read.

Previously, Apple’s head of human resources stressed that it will take time to make improvements to the company’s workforce diversity. Speaking at a conference, Apple’s vice president of worldwide human resources, Denise Young Smith, said the diversity challenge didn’t happen overnight, and therefore, it can’t be changed overnight.

At Facebook and Google, the workforce diversity numbers are pretty similar to those of Apple, suggesting that the industry’s diversity problem will take longer to get fixed. Men are still dominating tech companies, with just 15% of such jobs being given to women. Some Silicon Valley giants are facing high-profile lawsuits and charges of discrimination for allegedly mistreating women and minorities.

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