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Apple, Intel Improve in Workplace Diversity

The numbers of women, African-Americans and Hispanic employees working at Apple over the past year have all increased by double digits, although the company’s U.S. workforce remains predominantly white and male — a trend that holds true across large swaths of the tech sector.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made . . . But we know there is a lot more work to be done,” noted CEO Tim Cook when he revealed Apple’s latest diversity figures this week. Apple first publicly reported its employee demographic figures last year.

Intel has also increased its hiring of underrepresented groups, according to its mid-year diversity report released Wednesday. Intel said it has made a lot of progress toward its goal of full representation of women and underrepresented minority groups in its workforce by 2020, although the company acknowledged that “many challenges remain.”

A number of recent developments — such as former Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao’s failed gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers — have prompted a growing number of technology companies to begin publicly reporting their efforts to hire more women and minority groups. Advocates of greater inclusion have argued that as the overall U.S. population becomes more diverse, so, too, should the workforces at the world’s leading tech firms.

Tech Less Diverse than General Population

The nation’s population is 50.8 percent female and 49.2 percent male, as well as 16.6 percent Hispanic, 12.6 percent African-American and 4.9 percent Asian, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The employee population at large technology companies, however, tends to look dramatically different.

A 2014 analysis of nine tech firms by Fortune, for example, found that most had far lower representations of women, African-Americans and other minority groups in their workforces. Those groups were even underrepresented on the payrolls of some of the top-scoring companies: HP, for example, had a workforce that was 33.1 percent female, while at eBay, African-Americans made up just 7 percent of the workforce.

The growing attention being paid to such disparity has led a number of tech companies to announce ambitious and well-funded initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion in the office. In May, for instance, Google unveiled a $150 million plan that increased funding for its diversity programs by more than 30 percent. And in January, Intel announced a $300 million program to reach full representation of women and other groups in its U.S. workforce by 2020.

Challenges: Retention, Increasing Number of Candidates

In its new mid-year diversity report, Intel said it is on track to meet its year-one hiring goals of women, African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Over the past six months, 35.2 percent of new hires have been women (compared to its goal of 31 percent); 4.7 percent have been African-American (goal of 4.4 percent); 7.5 percent have been Hispanic (goal of 8.4 percent); and 0.3 percent have been Native Americans (goal of 0.6 percent).

“Our early strides encourage us, yet we know many challenges remain in achieving our 2020 goals especially with respect to retention of employees, continuing the early momentum on hiring, and working with schools and colleges to increase the number of qualified candidates,” Intel said in the executive summary of its report.

Over the past 12 months Apple has hired more than 11,000 women around the world — an increase of 65 percent over 2014, Cook noted this week. In the U.S. alone, Apple has hired more than 2,200 African-American employees — 50 percent more than last year — and 2,700 Hispanic employees, a 66 percent increase over the previous year, he said.

“Some people will read this page and see our progress,” said Cook, who last year became the first Fortune 500 CEO to reveal that he is gay. “Others will recognize how much farther we have to go. We see both.”


Posted: 2015-08-15 @ 2:24am PT

No wonder the share price is crashing.

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