Apple’s slight improvement in diversity hiring is still enough to put it ahead of other Silicon Valley heavyweights
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In the three years since major tech companies began releasing select diversity data, change seems to be only slightly inching along. Apple’s latest numbers announced this week show incremental progress in the number of women and minorities working at the company, but the minor improvement was still better than other tech companies in the last year.
At Apple, 32 percent of its workforce is female, and in the U.S., employees are 12 percent Hispanic and 9 percent Black. That’s a one percent increase in the number of women and underrepresented minorities since 2015. Additionally, Apple touted the diversity in its new hires, with 37 percent women globally, and 27 percent underrepresented minorities in the U.S. (compared to 32 percent and 22 percent, respectively, already working at Apple).
Apple includes retail stores in its diversity numbers—32 percent women globally, and 17 percent Hispanic and 12 percent Black in the U.S.—unlike Facebook, Google, and other companies which don’t have brick-and-mortar points of sale.
The company also said it closed the wage gap in its ranks: “We’ve achieved pay equity in the United States for similar roles and performance,” Apple said. “Women earn one dollar for every dollar male employees earn. And underrepresented minorities earn one dollar for every dollar white employees earn.”
However, while new hires and current diversity data illustrates to some extent the improvements Apple has made over time, information that measures the success of diversity and inclusion work is somewhat lacking, including retention of talent. Women and minorities are much more likely to leave tech because of exclusive company culture, and Apple doesn’t break down how long people stay at the company. No tech company publicly releases retention data.
Apple, like other tech companies, is working on a number of initiatives to improve recruiting and retention of underrepresented talent. This week, the company hosted students and faculty from more than 12 historically Black colleges and universities through a scholarship effort Apple launched in 2015, the Washington Post reports, and interns from the schools pitched projects they built while working at the company. Of the 33 interns, Apple hired eight.
Apple’s diversity report comes shortly after Facebook released information illustrating virtually no change within the diversity of its workforce. One former engineer told the Daily Dot she left the company because she felt like it was not inclusive or diverse, despite lip service to the contrary.
Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.