Apple's just released its first ever diversity report, following in the footsteps of several other major technology companies. In it, Apple notes that 70 percent of its 98,000 employees around the world are male, but that "inclusion and diversity" are on the top of the list of priorities for Apple CEO Tim Cook. The company also points out that it's been involved in several causes like donating millions to education, and sponsoring organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and National Center for Women & Information Technology.
The new metrics are primarily for the US, where the majority of its employees reside. Apple notes that more than half of its employees in non-tech, tech, and leadership roles are white. Asians come in second highest at 23 percent and 21 percent of employees the tech and leadership areas respectively. Among the company's US employees in the tech and leadership roles, hispanics and blacks come in at 7 and 6 percent, and 6 and 3 percent respectively. Apple did not disclose a breakdown of gender in the US, or in specific countries.
The report was casually promised by Cook at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho in early July. It joins a number of other annual reports the company publishes, including one on environmental responsibility, and another on its suppliers.
"I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page," Cook said in a note attached to 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."
Cook added that the "many" of the company's senior executives add diversity to the company's top ranks. That list includes Eddy Cue and Angela Ahrendts who are on Apple's leadership team, as well as Lisa Jackson and Denise Young-Smith who run the company's environmental and human resource groups, respectively.
Apple's report follows breakdowns from Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and others. The general hope of these is to push for greater diversity at technology companies that are made up mostly of white and male employees. In places like Twitter and Google, men make up 70 percent of the workforce globally. Those figures also dwindle down to the low single percentages for blacks and hispanics. Despite the recent disclosures, the reports have been difficult to compare in some cases due to scale. A company like Twitter has 3,300 employees while Apple and Google have more than 50,000 each — just in the US.
Tech companies have been tracking this kind of data for years, but only supplied it to the federal government where it's been confidential. Six years ago, attempts were made to surface some of that data, though many companies succeeded in keeping it wrapped up by arguing that it could be considered a trade secret. More recent attempts, led mainly by US civil rights leader Jessie Jackson, have been successful in pushing companies to disclose the metrics. Jackson's also argued that getting more diversity among tech workers is "the next step in the civil rights movement."