What Apple Is Doing About Lack of Diversity in the Workplace

CEO Tim Cook reacts to Apple's diversity report.

August 12, 2014, 4:52 PM
PHOTO: In this handout image provided by Apple, Apple store employees greet CEO Tim Cook at the new Apple Store in this Oct. 27, 2012, file photo in Palo Alto, Calif.
In this handout image provided by Apple, Apple store employees greet CEO Tim Cook at the new Apple Store in this Oct. 27, 2012, file photo in Palo Alto, Calif.
Don Feria/Apple via Getty Images

— -- For a company as mighty as Apple, changing the composition of its predominately white and male workforce begins with outreach.

A diversity report released by Apple today reveals the most likely person to hold a top-paying technology and leadership position at the company is white and male.

"I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. "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."

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Apple became the latest technology company to voluntarily disclose the diversity of their workforce -- showing the racial disparity in Silicon Valley.

A breakdown shows 54 percent of the company's technology jobs in the United States are held by whites, while Asians hold 23 percent of the jobs. White people make up 64 percent of Apple's leadership positions in the U.S., followed by Asians at 21 percent.

Cook said the iPad and iPhone maker recently pledged $100 million to President Obama's ConnectED project, which aims to bring digital learning and cutting edge technology to economically challenged schools. Cook said 80 percent of the student population that will benefit from the high tech investment are from groups that are under-represented in Silicon Valley.

Apple also works with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

"The work we do with these groups is meaningful and inspiring," Cook said. "We know we can do more, and we will."

Men make up 80 percent of Apple's technology workforce worldwide, however the company did not release the demographic composition of all 98,000 employees.

"Who we are, where we come from, and what we've experienced influence the way we perceive issues and solve problems," Cook said. "We believe in celebrating that diversity and investing in it."

For a company that burst onto the personal computing market in the Steve Jobs era with the slogan "think different," Apple employees are now hearing another call to action from Cook: "Inclusion inspires innovation."

"All around the world, our team at Apple is united in the belief that being different makes us better," he wrote. "We know that each generation has a responsibility to build upon the gains of the past, expanding the rights and freedoms we enjoy to the many who are still striving for justice."

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