A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook on diversity

Apple has created a diversity section of its website that includes a message from Apple CEO Tim Cook:

At Apple, our 98,000 employees share a passion for products that change people’s lives, and from the very earliest days we have known that diversity is critical to our success. We believe deeply that inclusion inspires innovation.

Our definition of diversity goes far beyond the traditional categories of race, gender, and ethnicity. It includes personal qualities that usually go unmeasured, like sexual orientation, veteran status, and disabilities. Who we are, where we come from, and what we’ve experienced influence the way we perceive issues and solve problems. We believe in celebrating that diversity and investing in it.

Apple is committed to transparency, which is why we are publishing statistics about the race and gender makeup of our company. Let me say up front: As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. 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.

Inclusion and diversity have been a focus for me throughout my time at Apple, and they’re among my top priorities as CEO. I’m proud to work alongside the many senior executives we’ve hired and promoted in the past few years, including Eddy Cue and Angela Ahrendts, Lisa Jackson and Denise Young-Smith. The talented leaders on my staff come from around the world, and they each bring a unique point of view based on their experience and heritage. And our board of directors is stronger than ever with the addition of Sue Wagner, who was elected in July.

I receive emails from customers around the world, and a name that comes up often is Kim Paulk. She’s a Specialist at the Apple Store on West 14th Street in Manhattan. 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.”

When we think of diversity, we think of individuals like Kim. She inspires her coworkers and her customers as well.

We also think of Walter Freeman, who leads a procurement team here in Cupertino and was recently recognized by the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Last year, Walter’s team provided over $3 billion in business opportunities with Apple to more than 7,000 small businesses in the western United States.

Both Walter and Kim exemplify what we value in diversity. Not only do they enrich the experience of their coworkers and make our business stronger, but they extend the benefits of Apple’s diversity to our customers, into our supply chain and the broader economy. And there are many more people at Apple doing the same.

Above all, when we think of the diversity of our team, we think of the values and ideas they bring with them as individuals. Ideas drive the innovation that makes Apple unique, and they deliver the level of excellence our customers have come to expect.

Beyond the work we do creating innovative tools for our customers, improving education is one of the best ways in which Apple can have a meaningful impact on society. We recently pledged $100 million to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative to bring cutting-edge technologies to economically disadvantaged schools. Eighty percent of the student population in the schools we will equip and support are from groups currently underrepresented in our industry.

Apple is also a sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT rights organization, as well as the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which is encouraging young women to get involved in technology and the sciences. The work we do with these groups is meaningful and inspiring. We know we can do more, and we will.

This summer marks the anniversary of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 — an opportunity to reflect on the progress of the past half-century and acknowledge the work that remains to be done. When he introduced the bill in June 1963, President Kennedy urged Congress to pass it “for the one plain, proud and priceless quality that unites us all as Americans: a sense of justice.”

All around the world, our team at Apple is united in the belief that being different makes us better. We know that each generation has a responsibility to build upon the gains of the past, expanding the rights and freedoms we enjoy to the many who are still striving for justice.

Together, we are committed to diversity within our company and the advancement of equality and human rights everywhere.

Tim

Apple’s diversity webpages are here.

Related articles:
Jesse Jackson calls on Obama to scrutinize tech industry’s ‘lack of diversity’ – July 28, 2014
Tim Cook: Apple will release diversity data ‘at some point’ – July 9, 2014
Jesse Jackson targets tech’s lack of diversity; sends letter to Apple, Google, HP, others – March 19, 2014
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. blames Apple iPad for killing thousands of American jobs – April 16, 2011

61 Comments

  1. Tim Cook is a joke! Catering to the liberal left at the expense of Apple will be his legacy. Nobody’s fkng bizness what the company’s racial makeup is. Just do your damn job, Timmy boy, and shove your liberal BS! I’m sick of it!

    1. Diverstiy has several benefits.

      1. Some sections of the population are at a disadvantage in employment. It does not hurt Apple and the vast majority of companies to make an effort to be diverse. 1b. the more diversity in employment, the more Apple economy spreads thru the entire customer base via the salary.

      2. Apple’s diverse customers benefit from a diverse employment base. This may be in sales or in product development manufacturing. Diverse socio-economic etcetera as well as diverse education: languages, engineering, the arts.

      3. Finally, embracing diversity is not just a moral thing to do. Lifting people up is our real goal. It is THE GOAL. Money, employment and products are the structure by which this in part happens The other method is simple human dignity.

      1. So not hiring the best people is “moral”?!
        Skipping over the highest qualified person to hire somebody else by virtue of their skin color or sexual preference is “moral”?!

        It is immoral.
        Only a mediocre person would attempt to justify this genuine discrimination.

        1. It has been proven over and over that hiring decisions made by people who are predominantly “white” will tilt in favor of “white” job candidates, even when the candidates are equally qualified. It might not even be intentional discrimination, but it is real. What that means is that, without plans to counter-act that tendency, places that aren’t diverse yet (most places) will continue to unfairly make hiring decisions that do NOT hire the “best” candidate.
          Your belief that “hiring the best” person happens in some ideal fashion is a fantasy.
          Pushing for more diversity is a counter-balancing force to the (intentional or not) bias in favor of privileged candidates.

    2. iMaki
      It is society’s business if people are grossly biased against members of the society for no good reason. We have a society TOGETHER and, no, you don’t just get to behave however the hell you like. Society has responsibilities to you, and you have responsibilities back to everyone else.

      If you want to live somewhere there is no societal responsibility, please move to Somalia.

      1. The only responsibility society has is to make sure no one stands in your way and prevents you from achieving for arbitrary reasons. Society can be held responsible, IMHO, for not making sure everyone is taught HOW TO LIVE AND LIVE WELL in the society. After that, society is not responsible for how individuals squander the incredible opportunities they are afforded. Above all else, society is not responsible for teaching people that SOCIETY is the parent.

        The government ain’t nobody’s baby daddy.

        1. Apple didn’t create problems in schools, but its doing something about it without being forced to. This is leadership. Other companies have long been making the same efforts.

          As far as the phrase “just put your nose to the grindstone” goes, this does not enhance diversity except by random chance.

          See my above comment for other aspects.

        2. The main issue I have with your missive is that you are exchanging “society” and “government”. Government isn’t society, we are. It’s not some socialist plot that threatens your right wing ideals to say what Sean said.

          Perhaps if he had said ” American Society would benefit from greater cooperation amongst it’s people working toward a common good”

          Now we can argue from multiple philosophical or partisan positions what is a “common good”, but we could agree on the statement itself no? Or do you truly believe that our society is strengthened by division and partisanship?

        3. “The only responsibility society has is to make sure no one stands in your way…”

          Actually, each of us does have a moral (not legal) responsibility to pay back the help others have given us. This is not government or Socialism, its just healthy social gratitude for the many things in life each of us were given that we didn’t earn. Help from a neighbor, co-worker, parents, mentors, teachers who cared more about their students than their income, etc.

          While helping particular groups is never going to be 100% fair, it is impossible to be fair on an individual basis, and helping others is not always about being strictly fair. Helping underprivileged groups is one statistically efficient way to help those who are really likely to benefit.

          Apple is doing good, and it will do them good too.

      1. As if code and coding were culture-free?

        Group dynamics play a role in any human team endeavour, and the dynamics play out differently depending on the team’s makeup. This is a primary task in sociology, to study such differences. Try to think of the diversity issue as a systems problem, not a political one.

        1. Who wrote it? A boy or a girl? Was it a black boy or white girl or Southeast Asian Transexual? Who cares if it works and works well?

          void BubbleSort(apvector &num)
          {
          int i, j, flag = 1; // set flag to 1 to start first pass
          int temp; // holding variable
          int numLength = num.length( );
          for(i = 1; (i <= numLength) && flag; i++)
          {
          flag = 0;
          for (j=0; j num[j]) // ascending order simply changes to <
          {
          temp = num[j]; // swap elements
          num[j] = num[j+1];
          num[j+1] = temp;
          flag = 1; // indicates that a swap occurred.
          }
          }
          }
          return; //arrays are passed to functions by address; nothing is returned
          }

          When people say we need more women in tech, I don't see the need. I can easily see the DESIRE. We need more people in STEM period without regard for race or gender. Focusing on women is like looking at a burning house and saying, "We need more pink buckets of water. 70% of our buckets are blue."

          We need to make sure that no one stands in the way of anyone who wishes a career in tech. Society's biases start at home.

          1. You took the time to put in five comments at critical points of this routine. My Russian colleague would have likely taken that time (and more) to try and figure out if he could make this shorter by three lines (by the looks of it, probably not).

          2. I’m talking about team work benefiting from diversity, not about anecdotal individuals benefiting from opportunity. The former contributes to novel syntheses unlikely to emerge from monotone thinking. The latter perpetuates the political obsession with representation.

            I regard the drive for diversity in tech as a means to an end: increasing the variety of the tools that can be deployed in attacking a complex project.

            And if there is no real need for more women or Polynesians in coding, that implies that coders are interchangeable and that the ones we have now are as good as anyone. I have not found that to be the case.

            1. The following sentence in your missive makes NO sense:

              “And if there is no real need for more women or Polynesians in coding, that implies that coders are interchangeable and that the ones we have now are as good as anyone.”

              Of course we can try to get better coders, but that has nothing to do with some bean-counting exercise regarding their genitalia or other irrelevant features–focusing on that guarantees WORSE coders. To get better coders, focus on getting better coders–regardless of other factors.

            2. Figuring out who is better coder is sometimes a bit tricky; often times, you get several hundred applicants for the same coding job. You will of course test them, but out of those, dozens will test at (or close to) 100%, and you’re left with interviews and picking based on other considerations. Diversity as another criteria can be a positive factor in selection, by bringing in a competent coder who has another quality: being culturally different from others. As hannahjs had said, such quality introduces different way of thinking and attacking problems.

            3. Saying that there is no need for minorities in tech is just an obtuse way of saying that the current crop of workers is doing the job just fine, thank you, but should an opening become available, all qualified candidates will be considered.

              As if there is no racial/ethnic/age/gender bias in hiring? Give me a break.

            4. No, I don’t think there’s a bias. I think apple has been hiring the best people they can find. They aren’t settling for the best woman or best Hispanic (make your ethnic choice). To get the success apple has had with the few people it has had means they are hiring on qualifications not attributes. A big difference.

      2. Actually, it can. There are fundamentally different schools of programming out there. The mindsets, the way people approach problems, the way they solve them, and specifically the way people write code, varies greatly from nation to nation. In my experience, I had noticed (and this is rather broad stereotyping, but there is a lot of truth there) that American developers tend to produce solutions on tight deadlines with code that may be inelegant and inefficient, but complete. Indian developers may deliver the final product missing some marginal functionality and with incomplete documentation, but the code would be rather lean. But the Russians will make it a point to shave off every possible line of code that isn’t absolutely necessary until they deliver the leanest possible module for the functionality. It may be undocumented, and it may be difficult to decipher (and therefore to support) but it will be fast. Perhaps it has something to do with the resources they had while growing up and learning to code.

        It always reminds me about the comparison between the American and the Soviet space programmes. Weightless travel presented a problem for pens — they would stop working since there was no gravity to pull the ink. American programme commissioned a pen for a weightless use. They committed some $2B (in the 60s) and some 9 years of development. The end result was this super space pen: it could write upside down, under water, in total vacuum, in deep freezing cold temperatures, in scorching heat. Russians, meanwhile, used — a pencil.

          1. I just discovered that the last paragraph (about space pen) is an urban legend (to an extent that NASA didn’t waste years and billions to develop a pen, and the they didn’t like the pencil as a solution as it is breakable and flammable).

            But the rest is true from my limited experience (as well as that of people around me)

          2. Russian women are reputed to be as talented as their male counterparts. I had two as interns (OK, one was Ukrainian) and they can do the job. I hadn’t received any applications from Russian males: presumably they were able to obtain more lucrative or prestigious positions. But I can’t help but suspect that they didn’t apply with me because they deduced I was female. This, despite the trumpeted Russian “equality” of sex.

        1. So what you’re saying, always take the easy way out?

          Where did such simple thinking lead Russia?

          How many jobs did that pencil solution provide, and what technological advancements did it make?

          Your argument appears to be a little leaded….

          1. Not quite. While the example I mentioned turns out to be an urban legend (to an extent), the point it is making was actually valid: lateral thinking can often solve problems faster and more efficiently than throwing resources (money/people) at it.

      3. I thought Tim said it rather succinctly:

        “The talented leaders on my staff come from around the world, and they each bring a unique point of view based on their experience and heritage. ”

        &

        “Above all, when we think of the diversity of our team, we think of the values and ideas they bring with them as individuals. Ideas drive the innovation that makes Apple unique, and they deliver the level of excellence our customers have come to expect.”

        Put another way, diversity introduces different points of view. Ideas and projects benefit from multiple points of view challenging one another, allowing things to evolve and be more rounded.

        For example a self taught coder might challenge the “status-quo” for doing something, coming up with a creative an new way to do something. Showing others this new different way might cause them to challenge things they took for granted leading to a new discovery or method. Just one of a myriad of ways it might flow.

        Insular with narrow focus is no way to experience life sir..

      4. Leaving out people from out of the mainstream deprives an organization of valuable experience, insight and input. More eyes always make for a more highly detailed sample and better data makes better (accurate) results.

        Steve Jobs was a college dropout and probably would never make it past the HR computer filters despite being a genius. The same was true of Woz (Happy Birthday) at the founding of Apple as he completed his degree years after leaving Apple. There are amazing and highly capable people from all walks of life and every experience base.

        Everybody has something to bring to the party of life.

  2. Apple’s diversity numbers are exactly what I would expect. They reflect who we are as individuals and social/demographic/cultural groups. They are nothing more than an affirmation of the obvious. Same for every tech company putting up with this crap.

    If you want to see changes in these numbers, the changes in people have to start from the beginning. In the so called “black community,” we MUST instill certain values at an extremely early age.

    We need to teach individualism, the idea of excellence, achievement, personal responsibility, the value of education, economics i.e. how to create wealth, CAPITALISM, competition, in short… Americanism.

    We need to teach our kids that if they are poor, it is not because someone else is wealthy. We need to teach them simple, I mean extremely simple moral ideas like, “Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Steal Their Stuff.”

    We need to reward them for academic excellence in the same way we reward them for sports excellence. We need to overcome every negative lesson they might learn from their parents.

    At this point in time, we (blacks) are the children of liberalism. We are the failed spawn of The Great Society. We are the result of the great American experiment with socialism. Our value to the nation is nothing more than as one big mindless voting block for the Democratic Party.

    70% of our children are born out of wedlock, in New York alone more black children are aborted than are born. Margaret Sanger would be proud of her accomplishments. We are at the bottom of the educational achievement stats, and we make the rest of the nation look bad.

    This is not the fault of tech companies. This is the direct result of the inherently racist ideology of clueless albeit well meaning people inadvertently assisting malicious leaders.

    “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”—LBJ

    “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” —Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One

    It’s time for us to break this cycle and return to our conservative roots.

    If Jessie Jackson wants to see who is responsible for the state of Black America, he needs to look in a mirror. If he thinks that Apple should hire more blacks then tell him to hire this woman for his business.

  3. Tim “the steward” Cook, is at it again. Obviously, Apple can’t innovate anymore, so he has to get his name and Apple in the news somehow. If only Jobs could be resurrected so Cook could get the kick to the tookus he deserves.

  4. And if we want more women in tech, that indoctrination has to start early as well. We need to tell people this (tv show below) is just a horrible. I watched this the other day and I just cringed. It’s appalling. Feminists let this go on for 6 seasons so far!

      1. I don’t understand men sometimes. These cartoons are hilarious. I am going to send them to my sister and I’m certain she’ll agree.

        First of all, the characters, even the animals, are all articulated dolls and conscious of their plastickness, no more absurd in their actions than Marvel superheroes or celebrities caricaturing themselves on The Simpsons.

        Second, they are funny, with slapstick and self-effacing humour and mocking cultural references; they are not intended as a comportment tutorial for young girls, rather a lampoon along the lines of a Jane Austen exposé of social mores.

        Third, the men are every bit as vain, pretentious, and self-absorbed as the females—an equal-opportunity skewering of stereotypes.

        I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this as an indictment of male hegemony, guys. This is more like something Mark Twain, or Jonathan Swift, would write to satirise the actual outrages that occur through the practise of political correctness and its backlash.

        1. Well, I don’t know, Hannah. If these are broadcast in the similar time slots as The Family Guy or The Simpsons, then I would probably agree with you, but if they come on on Saturday mornings, then it is clear that their audience isn’t expected to understand the humour, and the end result may be twisting little girls’ minds into accepting these nonsensical goals and aspirations for themselves.

          Having now googled it, I realise that it is an online show on barbie.com, which tends to reenforce my concern. An adult girl like yourself can only find this entertaining, as it seems to be quite over the top (at least the first 10 minutes I saw), but young tweens who go to barbie.com and end up watching this won’t get that layer of the message, and their take-away will be the 50s stereotype.

    1. Girls are as likely to be “indoctrinated” by cutsie rubbish of this sort as boys are by exposure to Mortal Kombat. I would like to see more credit given to the intelligence of both sexes, however youthful.

      1. Watching some of the classmates of my daughters as they are growing up, I’m afraid I’m not quite ready to give much credit to the intelligence of these kids at their age. My kids are in a very good school, which is culturally as diverse as it can possibly be (9 out of 10 children speak something other than English at home, which includes mine). And it is amazing how some of these girls have already (and we’re talking 4th grade!) made glamour, fashion, style and a husband their primary priorities in life. They devour everything Barbie as aspirational, and while they are academically on par with others, they show no particular interest in career. My older is now in high school, and some of those classmates have sustained this vacuous obsession throughout the middle school. Reminds me of a friend’s grandmother from Connecticut, who, during the 40s, only went to college in order to snag a better husband (which she did — he was a doctor…).

  5. The easy answer is that every successful company in America hires the best talent available out there, regardless of these categories (race, sex, orientation, religion, etc); otherwise, they wouldn’t be that successful.

    However, I don’t think anyone is disputing this. The point is that the civilised world has been making great efforts to eliminate the preconceived differences in every segment of the society, and in every industry and business. Form emancipation of slaves, to giving women the right to vote, to allowing interracial couples to marry, to integrating public institutions (schools, government, etc), America and the world have been meticulously removing artificial barriers and obstacles to the opportunities and rights that the majority has had. The point of this whole effort is to eliminate the burden that comes with the minority label, as it is always a small group that is shortchanged, due to the historic legacy.

    While there is no doubt that there is a lot of work to be done to motivate the poor segments of the society to aspire to greater things, as long as there is even a trace of bias one way or the other, it will be a good enough excuse for those who hide behind “Why bother?”.

    1. I agree, to a point. Yes there are overt racist morons in the world, but if you put your nose to the grindstone, so to speak, the world is your oyster. If you show up at Apple’s door, or most other companies and you have the chops, you’ll get the job. No one at Apple is conspiring to keep black people at less than 7% of the total employee population.

      We are doing that to ourselves.

      We are responsible for our poor showing in STEM, not Apple Human Resources. We have to change that and stop blaming others.

      1. I guess you are right, you should know from experience. I am a foreigner (of European origin), so I had never experienced any form of discrimination anywhere (in the past 50 years), and can’t say. However, since living in America, I have yet to meet an adult black American who hasn’t had a first-hand experience with an overt display of racism, which had direct negative consequences for him/her. Your country has certainly come a long way since the 60s, but it is clear to me that the mindset of the (still barely) white majority continues to show strong bias, even if it is subconscious.

        I currently live in East Harlem (NYC). When I was first looking to move there, because of all the stereotypes I had grown up with, I felt quite uneasy walking through the neighbourhood. It seems absolutely ridiculous and absurd from today’s perspective, but three years ago, it felt real. And I didn’t even grow up in America (i was almost 30 when I came to NYC).

        As long as there are monolithic communities around America that raise their children with their traditional values, there will be discrimination on both sides of the line.

    2. “every successful company in America hires the best talent available out there”

      We know this to not be true. Until recently, Google used a hiring procedure that was known (for decades) to be flawed: it had a very low rate of predicting good candidates.

      More specifically, blacks are discriminated against in every aspect of employment. Having a black name on a resume (compared to a white name) means you have to send out 50% more resumes to get the same response.

      If an orchestra uses blind auditions (where they don’t see the person playing) it increases a women’s chance of acceptance by about 50%.

      These are two examples from the many studies that show how the best are not hired because they aren’t white men.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.