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Diversity problems plague Silicon Valley

Diversity Problems Plague Silicon Valley

By Christina Farr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc on Tuesday released a report on employee diversity, and its numbers are similar to those of other Silicon Valley companies, prompting Chief Executive Tim Cook to say there is still work to be done.



The employee survey comes on the heels of recent reports from technology companies Google Inc and Twitter Inc, but it is unique in one significant way. It alone is accompanied by letter from a company CEO, in which Cook stresses the company's commitment to being "innovative in advancing diversity."

Blacks and Hispanics make up about 18 percent of Apple's workforce, a ratio that is about triple of those of most other tech firms. Nine percent of its workers did not disclose their ethnicity.

Apple breaks down the numbers into three categories: leadership, technology and non-technology. The technology category, which is 80 percent male, includes Genius Bar employees and engineers.

The numbers include its large contingent of store management employees. Apple runs 254 retail stores in the United States and 427 globally, according to its most recent quarterly report.

"As CEO, I'm not satisfied with the numbers on this page," he wrote. "They're not new to us, and we've been working hard for quite some time to improve them."

But Cook noted that Apple's definition of diversity goes beyond traditional categories such as race and gender. "It includes personal qualities that usually go unmeasured, such as sexual orientation, veteran status and disabilities," he wrote.

The diversity reports have spurred a national debate about the lack of diversity at Silicon Valley's tech companies and how to improve the ratio. At Google, some 70 percent of employees are also male, and 61 percent are white. Twitter's overall employee population is 70 percent male and 59 percent white.

While Apple's numbers are similar to those of its competitors, some experts say that the company is a step ahead of the rest.

"Apple will do everything it can to make their workforce look more like the population they serve," said Fred Sainz, vice president of communications and marketing at the Human Rights Campaign. For 13 years running, the HRC has awarded Apple a perfect score on its corporate equality index, which rates American workplaces on LGBT equality.

After taking the reigns, Cook promoted Cuban-American Eddy Cue to a leadership role at Apple, and brought on former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts. The company also recruited Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, to run its environmental efforts.

In recent years, Apple executives have spoken out publicly in support of a variety of social and environmental causes, including diversity, accessibility and human rights. Cook made an appearance at the San Francisco Pride Festival for the first time this summer to cheer on thousands of employees and their families who showed up. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/29/usa-gay-tech-idUSL2N0PA0IW20140629)

(Reporting By Christina Farr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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ngbiker1 August 14 2014 at 7:25 AM

maybe, if these other minority groups encourage their kids to pursue education instead of trying to be rap stars or basketball players, there might be more diversity in silicon valley.

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2 replies
Gus Richards ngbiker1 August 14 2014 at 10:48 AM

It's now official, in the new obama world, it doesn't matter your qualifications, or better yet, the lack of qualifications, a company must hire an equal number of each race. obama is the shinning example of that EEO crap of getting put in a job for which the individual has no qualifications. And the libs wonder why he's done such a piss poor job?. Is it any wonder this country has gone to hell, and is sinking fast?

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Gary H Mayer ngbiker1 August 14 2014 at 12:41 PM

tive Americans, mexicans (the latter only if involved with drugs).

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Mike August 14 2014 at 6:01 AM

Apple will respond like many businesses by hiring non-qualified personnel to fill the quotas.

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1 reply
queencelt Mike August 14 2014 at 1:04 PM

Then they should add a quota for employees over the age of 40; those over-qualified employees will balance out the younger, non-qualified ones.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Daren Miller August 14 2014 at 7:10 AM

It is Silicon Valley's fault that it hires the most qualified people? We will have more diversity now that colleges are dropping the SAT requirement. We will graduate more dumb people and wonder why there is no diversity in Silicon Valley.

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2 replies
Michele Daren Miller August 14 2014 at 8:46 AM

I don't think we need MORE diversity. People need to read between the lines.... Obama will soon start insisting that Corporations start those illegals that he let come across the border. He will insist that they are given jobs whether they qualified or not. This is what will happen. White people for the most part are being isolated when it comes to getting hired. Its a slow trend that is growing fast. As for the SAT tests, I feel they should be dropped. I have seen what it has done to high school students taking the exam to get into college. If you don't have the money to get in, then you go through hell to get in. Whereas we have kids from other countries coming here almost on a free ride. And now more and more Blacks are starting to demand the free ride too. Yes, things are getting worse and out of hand and nothing is being done about it.

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1 reply
garyscheuer Michele August 14 2014 at 12:35 PM

Ah, yes, those poor, poor white people. It makes you wonder how they've survived all those generations of persecution.

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geonosian713 Daren Miller August 14 2014 at 1:36 PM

most qualified or foreigners who will work for less ???

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onionson August 14 2014 at 6:18 AM

Well, if Apple needs any old washed up people to help hit their diversity targets I'm available.

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2 replies
queencelt onionson August 14 2014 at 1:00 PM

Good luck to you! Note they never mentioned "age" as a diversity factor.

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rongravy onionson August 14 2014 at 5:32 PM

Well then, does diversity mean height disparity? Are dwarfs working there. How about GIANTS. Diversity means lots of things.It apparently does not mean smart, intelligent, bright, inventive.Diversity also means that you Must hire criminals, convicted felons and jailbirds in order to be diversified.The proper definition for all of this is BS.

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LA is Best August 14 2014 at 9:12 AM

What the word Diversity means; in order to hire certain groups of people you have to LOWER your expectations to accommodate their inability to meet current standards! Unfortunately this has already happened in government, schools, police & fire departments! We used to be satisfied that the best of the best were hired but now the most qualified are put in the back of the line so that numbers look good at the expense of safety and productivity!

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davefromfwb1 August 14 2014 at 8:03 AM

Once you "diversify" your company...you might as well get ready to go out of business. Look at Detroit, St. Lewis, California in general. Might as well pack up and go overseas if you have to bow down to popular miss beliefs that having a diversified company will produce better products. Hey only good thing that can come out of this is....they'll qualify for government tax payers dollars just like WALMART collects healthcare money for it's poor diverse employees.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
Hottie davefromfwb1 August 14 2014 at 9:51 AM

Miss Belief? She related to Mr. E?

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emilia August 14 2014 at 8:56 AM

apple should hire only those employes they see fit and not subject to outside intervention

Flag Reply +7 rate up
farm4141 August 14 2014 at 8:29 AM

I'm sure the shareholders love the fact that society is forcing down the quality of their product hence their portfolios..

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Robert August 14 2014 at 9:23 AM

Good Plan, Dumb down apple.
Your competitors thank you!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Debra August 14 2014 at 10:20 AM

Apple will move their company to Canada or some other country soon...like GE (fired all their employees) and moved to Russia! Wake up America. Vote for Republicans to get us back on a stable and sound economic track that helps ALL of us...even the ignorant young low info voters who vote for lies and promises that could not possibly be possible. The smart folk are being voted out by idiots in this country. Maybe we should up the voting age to 25!!!
Republicans MAKE...
Democrats TAKE....

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
propickup Debra August 14 2014 at 12:18 PM

stop letting the gov. make us take employees that we do not want to work for us. It's a free country and we should be able to hire who we want without anyone telling us any different. they want to hire them , then they should start there own business and hire all of them. there simple solution.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
uzgot2bkiddinme Debra August 14 2014 at 12:34 PM

They already DID hire them all, they are called Government Workers!!! (TSA, IRS, DOJ, Homeland "Security", etc.)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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