Date
20 August 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company is committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as it is in developing its products. Photo: Reuters
Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company is committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as it is in developing its products. Photo: Reuters

Tim Cook unhappy with Apple diversity report

 

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook is not happy with the technology giant’s diversity report.

It seems that despite his strong advocacy of equal opportunities and non-discrimination in the workplace, his company is not much different from other firms in Silicon Valley when it comes to those issues.

“Inclusion inspires inspiration … We put inclusion and diversity at our very center,” says the report. But the figures show that the vast majority of the company’s employees are male, white or Asian.

According to Digital Journal, findings showed that 70 percent of Apple’s 98,000 employees worldwide are male. In the United States, 55 percent are white, 15 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Hispanic, 7 percent are black and 2 percent describe themselves as multiracial. Nine percent of workers did not disclose their race.

The same employment pattern can be gleaned from the diversity reports of other technology companies. At Google, seven out of 10 employees are male, while more than 90 percent are white or Asian. Yahoo’s staff composition in terms of racial background is almost identitical. Facebook, too: In the US, whites and Asians account for 94 percent of its tech staff, and nearly 70 percent of its employees are men.

“As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page,” Cook wrote in a letter to his staff which accompanies the report.

“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.”

But according to the Apple report, the company believes diversity goes beyond race and gender; it also includes disabilities, sexual orientation and veteran status.

Apple is advancing the cause by supporting organizations that provide opportunities to underrepresented groups in the technology sector. It is a sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBT advocacy group, and the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal last year, Cook called on US lawmakers to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would ban discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It also pledged US$100 million to President Barack Obama’s ConnectED program to bring technology to schools, says technology news website ReadWrite.

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

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RA/CG

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