Apple's Diversity Data: Better Representation of Blacks, Latinos

In a letter accompanying the data, Tim Cook becomes the first Silicon Valley CEO to personally call for more improvement at his company.

By Albert Lin


Apple on Tuesday became the latest Silicon Valley technology giant to release its diversity data, and when it comes to Black and Latino employees, the company's numbers look better than those of Twitter, Yahoo! and Google.

Of Apple's United States employees, 55 percent are white—comparable to Twitter's 59 percent, Yahoo!'s 50 percent, and Google's 61 percent. But Apple's Black (7 percent) and Latino (11 percent) representation are downright impressive when compared to Twitter's total (5 percent Black and Latino), Yahoo!'s total (6 percent) and Google's total (5 percent).

That means Apple has the lowest percentage by far of Asian employees, at 15 percent. Twitter is at 29 percent, Yahoo! at 39 percent and Google at 30 percent.

(Facebook's U.S. staff is 57 percent white, 34 percent Asian, 4 percent Latino and 2 percent Black.)

Apple and the other four companies cited above have never participated in the DiversityInc Top 50 survey.

As a point of comparison, here is the workforce-representation data for the 2014 DiversityInc Top 50: 11.9 percent Black, 9.8 percent Latino, 9.8 percent Asian and 46.2 percent women.

When it comes to tech and non-tech positions, Apple's white-employee representation remains virtually identical (56 percent of non-tech jobs are held by whites, 54 percent of tech jobs are held by whites). But the trends in Black, Latino and Asian employees mirror the trends at Twitter, Yahoo! and Google, in which a greater share of Asians are in tech positions while a greater share of Blacks and Latinos are in non-tech positions.

Asians represent 23 percent of Apple's workforce in tech jobs versus 9 percent in non-tech jobs, while Blacks are at 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, and Latinos are at 7 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

In terms of gender diversity, Apple is on par with its four peers, with a global workforce that is 30 percent women. Twitter is also 30 percent women, while Yahoo! is 37 percent, Google is 21 percent and Facebook is 31 percent.

As one might expect given its workforce data, Apple's U.S. leadership numbers are also better than its brethren's numbers: 64 percent white, 21 percent Asian, 3 percent Black and 6 percent Latino. Globally, leadership is 28 percent women.

Twitter's leadership is 72 percent white, 24 percent Asian, 2 percent Black, 2 percent Latino, and 21 percent women.

Yahoo!'s leadership is 78 percent white, 17 percent Asian, 1 percent Black, 2 percent Latino, and 23 percent women.

Google's leadership is 72 percent white, 23 percent Asian, 2 percent Black, 1 percent Latino, and 21 percent women.

In an accompanying letter, CEO Tim Cook wrote:

"At Apple, our 98,000 employees share a passion for products that change people's lives, and from the very earliest days we have known that diversity is critical to our success. We believe deeply that inclusion inspires innovation.

"Our definition of diversity goes far beyond the traditional categories of race, gender, and ethnicity. It includes personal qualities that usually go unmeasured, like sexual orientation, veteran status, and disabilities. Who we are, where we come from, and what we've experienced influence the way we perceive issues and solve problems. We believe in celebrating that diversity and investing in it.

"Apple is committed to transparency, which is why we are publishing statistics about the race and gender makeup of our company. Let me say up front: As CEO, I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page. 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.

"Inclusion and diversity have been a focus for me throughout my time at Apple, and they're among my top priorities as CEO. …

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

"Together, we are committed to diversity within our company and the advancement of equality and human rights everywhere."

"That is a bold and direct step," Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has pushed to diversify Silicon Valley, said of Cook's letter. None of the CEOs of the other companies commented on their stats. "This whole thing cries out for leadership. These companies must lead the way, not just begrudgingly release the data.

"The walls are coming down to expose barren fruit trees. Apple's are a bit better than the others but not by much."

Earlier this year, Apple made a subtle change to its charter intended to increase the diversity of its board of directors.

For years now, tech companies have been fighting to keep their EEO data a secret. Perhaps the sudden transparency is a sign that these companies are finally committed to change.

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