Apple says it has made strides toward improving the diversity of its workforce but acknowledges there’s still much to be done. Apple
Apple says it has made progress toward improving the diversity of its workforce, hiring more women and minorities in the past year than in any previous year, but the racial and ethnic makeup of the company has changed little since 2014.
Apple hired 65 percent more women, 50 percent more blacks and 66 percent more Latinos in the past 12 months, according to the company’s annual Diversity Report, released Thursday. That translates to the global hiring of 11,000 women, 2,200 blacks and 2,700 Hispanics for the 110,000-employee company, Apple said.
“This represents the largest group of employees we’ve ever hired from underrepresented groups in a single year,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in an accompanying letter. “Additionally, in the first six months of this year, nearly 50 percent of the people we’ve hired in the United States are women, black, Hispanic or Native American.”
However, those hires did little to change the racial and gender composition of the company, which is still male and white dominated. The company’s female workforce grew 1 percent, to 31 percent, compared with last year’s report. The number of white employees declined from 55 percent to 54 percent, while the number of Asians grew from 15 percent last year to 18 percent in 2015. The percentage of Hispanic employees remained static at 11 percent, while the number of blacks grew from 7 percent last year to 8 percent in 2015.
“Some people will read this page and see our progress,” Cook wrote. “Others will recognize how much farther we have to go. We see both.”
Apple did not detail its hiring goals for the period and did not respond to a request for more information.
Apple’s findings mirror those of other large companies in the tech industry, which tend to be white and male dominated. As the tech industry’s influence on global issues has grown, some Silicon Valley giants have come under increasing scrutiny over the treatment of women and minorities, with some companies facing high-profile lawsuits and charges of discrimination.
It’s the latest report by companies detailing efforts they are taking to address Silicon Valley’s lack of diversity in hiring and retention. On Wednesday, Intel released its 2015 Mid-Year Inclusion Report, which showed that at the end of 2014, more than three-quarters of the chipmaker’s 54,000 workers were male and 56 percent were white.
Apple and Intel are definitely not alone when it comes to having a majority male and white workforce. In June, Facebook reported that 68 percent of its employees are men and that more than half its employees are white. Google also released its diversity report in June, saying that only 30 percent of its workforce is female.
Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson — who has become a vocal advocate for making the tech industry more inclusive to women, blacks and Latinos — applauded Apple’s efforts in trying to add racial diversity to its workforce.
“This is a watershed week for propelling the tech diversity and inclusion agenda forward,” Jackson said in a statement. “HP broke new ground by appointing two African Americans to each of its two new companies (HP Enterprise and HP Inc.); Intel reported significant and measurable progress in their diversity hiring in perhaps the most aggressively transparent report provided by any company in the industry. Now Apple has leaned in.”
Apple has acknowledged in the past that it needs to do more to encourage diversity in its workforce but noted that it will take time to show real results in the numbers.
The “diversity challenge…didn’t happen overnight, so it’s not going to be changed overnight,” Denise Young Smith, Apple’s vice president of worldwide human resources, said last month during the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado. “The long-term aspect of it is what I hope people start to really internalize and understand.”
In addition to increasing the number of women and minorities hired to Apple’s workforce, Cook has tried to inject more diversity into the company’s management team. He promoted Eddy Cue, a Cuban, to the role of senior vice president of Internet software and services in October 2012. Cook also named Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO, as Apple’s head of online and in-store retail. In addition, he appointed Susan Wagner, a director at BlackRock, to Apple’s board in place of long-time director Bill Campbell.