Apple is leading Silicon Valley in the tech industry’s battle to recruit more diverse talent and level the gender pay gap that is rampant in almost every job sector in America.
Apple employees are 32% female, 9% black, and 12% Hispanic — a single percentage point increase in each category from last year, according to its diversity report released on Wednesday. In the last 12 months, women made up 37% of new hires, while underrepresented minority groups comprised 27% of hires, marking a 6% increase from three years ago.
The most promising numbers from Apple’s report are the dents in the gender pay gap.
|Underrepresented minorities are groups whose representation in tech has been historically low — Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander. New hires are employees hired within the past 12 months. Data as of June 2016.; Courtesy of Apple|
“We’ve achieved pay equity in the United States for similar roles and performance,” the report read. “Women earn one dollar for every dollar male employees earn. And underrepresented minorities earn one dollar for every dollar white employees earn.”
“[Apple’s] numbers are encouraging,” Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, told the Washington Post. But, she added, “it would be great if they could show more dramatic differences over time.”
|New hires are employees hired during the 12‑month period ending in June of each year; Courtesy of Apple|
Silicon Valley began releasing diversity numbers publicly three years ago and companies have made vows to improve the makeup of their workforce.
Tech companies like Yahoo and Facebook have implemented programs that target women in technology and students at historically black universities. Slack has hid the names of job candidates or the schools they attended in attempts to discourage managers from bias hiring practices.
Still, the numbers remain discouraging. Black and Hispanic employees make up 2 and 4% of Facebook’s workforce, respectively, and the same groups make up 2 and 3% of Google’s 57,100-person workforce.
|“Other” includes Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander. Data as of June 2016.; Courtesy of Apple|
Seventy-two percent of Apple’s leadership is still male, despite the tech company’s efforts, and remains 55% white and 27% Asian. Including Apple’s retail operation, 54% of new hires in the United States are minorities.
Critics have pointed to Apple’s large resource of lower-paid workers in its retail stores as giving the company a leg-up on Google and Facebook, who do not have retail stores.
Bowles told Washington Post “it’s tough to assess overall progress without knowing about turnover and retention. Gains in new hires may be cancelled out by turnover because women and minorities also leave tech companies in higher numbers than white men.”