Moral Low Ground


Apple CEO Unhappy With Company Diversity Report

A Genius Bar employee at an Apple Store helps a customer. (Wesley Fryer)

A Genius Bar employee at an Apple Store helps a customer. (Wesley Fryer)

Apple’s CEO is unhappy about the results of an internal diversity report showing that the vast majority of the company’s employees are male, white or Asian.

“Inclusion inspires inspiration,” begins Apple’s newly-released report, which states that “we put inclusion and diversity at our very center.” But according to the report, seven out of every 10 Apple employees worldwide is male. In the United States, 55 percent are white, 15 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Hispanic, seven percent are black and two percent self-identified as multi-racial. Nine percent of workers did not disclose their race.

These statistics include all Apple employees, including those who work in the company’s extensive global retail operations. Among the higher levels Apple’s US workforce, including retail store managers, whites and Asians make up nearly 90 percent of employees.

Apple CEO Tim Cook released a letter along with the report stating he’s dissatisfied with its findings.

“As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page,” wrote Cook. “They’re not new to us and we’ve been working hard for quite some time 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.”

Re/code notes that Cook has spearheaded efforts to increase the number of women in Apple’s ranks, hiring former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson as the company’s environmental director and other prominent female business leaders, including former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, to top executive posts.

But the report asserts that Apple believes diversity transcends race and gender. It notes that the company is a sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBT advocacy group. Last year, Cook published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he called on US lawmakers to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Cook wrote:

At Apple, we try to make sure people understand that they don’t have to check their identity at the door. We’re committed to creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all employees, regardless of their race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation.

As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.

Apple, which had been the world’s most valuable brand for several years, was recently surpassed by Google. Apple’s value has fallen by about 20 percent to around $148 billion, largely due to a “growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers,” according to New York City-based corporate research firm MillwardBrown.

Other major tech companies have released similar diversity reports. At Google, 70 percent of employees are male, while more than 90 percent are white or Asian. Yahoo reported a nearly identical percentage of whites and Asians among its workforce. In the United States, whites and Asians make up 94 percent of Facebook’s tech staff, and nearly 70 percent of company employees are men.

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