Apple CEO Tim Cook 'not satisfied' with diversity numbers

Apple CEO Tim Cook 'not satisfied' with diversity numbers

Summary: In the US, 55 percent of Apple's workers are white, while 70 percent of workers globally are male.

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.31.52 PM
Via Apple

Apple on Tuesday became the latest in a slew of tech companies to release a workforce diversity report, and the numbers building up Silicon Valley are showing quite a pattern.

Much like Twitter, the majority of Apple's workers are white males, with women and minorities making up only small slices of its global workforce.

In the US, 55 percent of Apples workers are white, while 15 percent identify as Asian and 11 percent identify as having Hispanic origin. Blacks are the least represented demographic at just 7 percent.

On the gender front, 70 percent of Apple's workers globally are male and 30 percent are female. But going into more specific divisions within the company, the gender gap widens even further. In tech-related positions, 80 percent of workers are male. In leadership positions, which include store management, men dominate again at 72 percent. 

Perhaps to offset the sting of such unequal numbers, Apple CEO Tim Cook made it a point to highlight the recent female additions he's made to the senior executive ranks, such as EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.

Cook is admittedly unsatisfied with the numbers in the report, but said the company has long been aware of the disparities and is working 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," Cook wrote in the report. "Inclusion and diversity have been a focus for me throughout my time at Apple, and they're among my top priorities as CEO."


Topic: Apple

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  • Because we all know

    Because we all know diversity is based completely on what someone looks like. The stupidity of this stuff always amazes me.
    Buster Friendly
  • Good morale booster

    Help the company improve diversity: quit your job.
    John L. Ries
  • This is part of the terms of Apple being based in Ireland.

    This is a typical set of terms and conditions. In Ireland, the leprechauns actually require that Apple only hire people that look like Tim Cook.

    No other laws (including tax laws) apply.
    • No such thing

      There's no such thing as Irish. You're "white."
      Buster Friendly
  • Tim Cook =

    Tim Cook = A$$clown:)

    So is Tim ('AKA the Orange County Fluffer) going to personally educate all the races/sexes? Or in the case of Apple hire the average seat warmer? I think we have our answer...

  • So if the best person for the job is male

    do you pass them over for a female just to satisfy diversity? Not saying the female is a bad choice, in the end she may be the better choice given that she would offer a different perspective to products under development which would ultimately help the product.

    I'm more curious as to what the percentages are in reference to teens in college - if 70% of the college grads in technology are white males, wouldn't it make sense that the workforce would reflect that?
    • @William.Farrell -- agree

      Other tech companies -- recently Google -- are also worried. I don't think they really care that their diversity is too low, but that they'll be criticized for it. The traditional reasoning is that girls don't want to be tech geeks. Therefore, they avoid computers in college, as W.F notes.

      I would also like someone to take a look at the diversity of *applicants* to these companies. If you have 80% white men applying for the jobs available, are your being discriminatory if you award 80% of the positions to white men?
      • Yes,...

        ..especially if the remaining 20% of the applicants are non-white as well as female.
    • Blind auditioning could help

      The reviewer sees nothing but the applicant's actual work (knowing nothing else about him) and then scores it.

      Professional orchestras have been doing that since the 1960s, and the result has been many more women and minorities being hired (simply because they couldn't be discriminated against). If you look at old footage of the New York Philharmonic and other professional orchestras, you'll see that almost all of the performers were white men (even the flautists); that's no longer anywhere near the case.

      The technical professions are similar to the performing arts in that it's relatively easy to demonstrate one's applicable skills and expertise.

      But we really do need more women in the technical professions, as they think differently than men do and the differences are helpful.
      John L. Ries
      • This goes back to the available pool

        Certainly, blind auditions are great, because all that matters is how a candidate sounds. These positions are more complicated, usually including several interviews to determine a good fit with the team.

        My main point is: Assuming the candidates are equally talented and you're trying to avoid preferring white men over equally talented women / minorities, even a random selection is going to choose 80% white men if that's their share of the applications.
        • You must not be a musician

          Playing in an ensemble is all about teamwork (at least as much as working in a development group). And the blind audition need not be the only criterion for hiring (in fact, it shouldn't be). But it would tend to break some prejudices if one or more of the top performers in the blind audition shows up for the re-interview wearing a blouse and skirt.
          John L. Ries
          • It would have helped...

            ... if part of your latest reply -- "...the blind audition [should] not be the only criterion..." was in your original post, which implied -- to me, anyway -- that the blind audition cures all ills. "The reviewer sees...the actual work ... and then scores it."

            I am a musician, but not a pro. Thanks for the compliment.
          • You're welcome

            Sorry for the misunderstanding.
            John L. Ries
        • And...

 actually don't want your team to be too harmonious, as that's how you get groupthink, which can be disasterous. You want to have at least a couple of mavericks around to ask embarrassing questions. And differences in approaches to solving problems potentially allows more problems to be solved efficiently.

          And if a lot of your users are female, it's probably helpful if at least some of your developers and IT staffers are, as men and women (generally) think in very different ways.
          John L. Ries
    • The problem is

      that if you don't open up a little and hire a few people who are unlike who you already have - then things aren't ever going to change.

      I have this problem in that I've rarely been able to find women developers I can hire - but I do whenever it is possible. A diverse team brings insights and awareness of how your product fits into the world that - I'm sorry - a bunch of exclusively white guys just doesn't bring to the table. Nothing wrong with white guys - its just that they generally don't know what it is like to be a non-white guy.

      I need that creative burst that comes from a team that doesn't all look the same in the mirror. "The Sum is more than the parts" where Teams go.
  • Actually, whites are UNDERrepresented.

    The 2013 population is about 78% white, while 55% of Apple's US workers are white. Asians are only about 5% of the population, while 15% of Apple's US workers are Asian, so Asians are greatly OVERrepresented. Blacks make up about 13% of the population but are only 7% of Apple's US workers, so as the article points out, blacks are greatly UNDERrepresented. Hispanics are about 17% of the population and about 11% of Apple's US workers, so Hispanics are SLIGHTLY underrepresented. The biggest disparity is gender: Males are about 49% of the population but the article doesn't report the US figures, only the global percentage which is 70% male. As pointed out above, it would be more meaningful if the percentage of each demographic group with college degrees in the area was compared with the percentages in jobs. The traditional image of a "computer GUY" is slowly changing in colleges, where women make up well over 50% of the total student population and an increasing percentage in technical fields. The technical workforce, of course, is derived from technical grads over a long range of years. The top management largely comes from people who graduated back in the 70s and 80s, while the low-level coding grunts come largely from graduates in the 2000s.
    • Apple operates in largely urban areas of a certain metro size

      so diversity that reflects the local community isn't going to look the same as that for the general population.
  • Experience, knowledge, education/training, accomplishments, work-history,

    appearance, getting along with others, communications skills, etc...

    How do those fit in with ethnic/racial quotas?
  • Diversity=bs

    It should be about who's more qualified, not who's not a white male or just male in general.
  • Tim Cook is racist!

    The fact that Tim Cook think there is not enough non-white people is racist. What is the problem that there is not enough non-white people? So what? It is about experience and knowledge in the work force, not the appearance of someone!
    Pollo Pazzo