Home Tim Cook Takes A Diverse Stance: Apple’s Gay And Disabled Employees Matter Too

Tim Cook Takes A Diverse Stance: Apple’s Gay And Disabled Employees Matter Too

Following the transparency trend of tech companies revealing their diversity data, Apple posted its own report Tuesday. Surprise, surprise: The iPhone maker’s numbers don’t look much different from other Silicon Valley companies. 

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned in a letter accompanying the report that the company’s definition of diversity doesn’t focus exclusively on race and gender, but includes disabilities, sexual orientation and veteran status. Cook didn’t disclose numbers for those specific areas, but he did point out some examples. For instance, he praised Kim Paulk, a hearing- and vision-impaired employee in New York.

Kim has a medical condition that has impaired her vision and hearing since she was a child. Our customers rave about Kim’s service, and they say she embodies the best characteristics of Apple. Her guide dog, Gemma, is affectionately known around the store as the “seeing iDog.”

Apple also cited its support for organizations that provide opportunities for underrepresented people in the technology industry. The company pledged $100 million to President Obama’s ConnectED program to bring technology to schools, and sponsors the LGBT equal-rights group Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

Perhaps it was savvy for Cook to highlight those details, as the numbers in the tech giant’s diversity report don’t look all that different from other Silicon Valley companies. 

Apple’s workforce is mostly male and white, with a sizable chunk made up of Asian employees. Of its 98,000 total employees worldwide, 70% are male. In the U.S., the demographic data breaks down to 55% white, 15% Asian, 11% Hispanic, and 7% black. Nine percent of the company’s employees did not declare their ethnicity.

For comparison, the U.S. population boils down to 62.6% white, 17.1% Hispanic or Latino, 13.2% African American and 5.3% Asian.

Unlike other tech firms, Google and Facebook for instance, Apple employs brick-and-mortar retail staffers across the U.S. and the world. The company included these employees in its diversity roundup, but didn’t say specifically if those “geniuses” or other store clerks were part of its “non-tech” or “tech” categories. For the latter, 80% of jobs are held by men. Domestically, tech employees break down to 54% white and 23% Asian, with Hispanic and black workers making up 7% and 6%, respectively.

In his letter, Cook admitted that he’s not satisfied with the ratios. “They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them,” he wrote.

Images courtesy of Apple. 

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