Apple leads Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Google on gender diversity among Bay Area companies

“Gender diversity in the San Francisco Bay Area technology sector has improved over the last five years, but the region’s most gender-diverse businesses are in the retail, biopharmaceuticals and financial services sector, a new study from the University of California, Davis, found,” Sarah McBride reports for Reuters. “Out of the 223 largest publicly traded companies headquartered in the Bay Area, more than one third had either zero or just one top position held by a woman, the study found.”

“Still, that represents a big improvement from five years ago, when almost two-thirds of Bay Area companies had either zero or one top position held by a woman,” McBride reports. “Retailer Williams-Sonoma, biopharmaceutical company Medivation and bank Wells Fargo ranked as the companies with the most high-ranking positions held by women, researchers said. In the technology sector, the most diverse player was software company Zendesk, tied for No. 4. Search engine Yahoo, led by Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, tied for No. 8.”

“In the UC Davis study, iPhone maker Apple ranked No. 25, social network Facebook No. 30 and search engine Google No. 68 among Bay Area companies on gender diversity,” McBride reports. “Chipmaker Intel, which at the start of the year said it would spend $300 million over five years to improve diversity, ranked No. 48. Networking company Cisco Systems , which started releasing diversity figures a decade ago, ranked No. 41.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Out of 223 companies, No. 25 for tech company, is remarkably high on the list, especially given that women receive far fewer bachelor degrees in the computer sciences (18.2%), engineering (19.2%), physics (19.1%), and mathematics and statistics (43.1%) (Source: NSF, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015).

Apple’s latest diversity report shows progress – August 13, 2015
Tim Cook is ‘personally involved’ in improving diversity at Apple Inc. – July 14, 2015
Apple donates over $50 million to diversity efforts – March 10, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook met privately with Jesse Jackson regarding diversity – December 9, 2014
Apple adds Vice Presidents, more diversity to Executive Leadership Team – August 15, 2014
A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook on diversity – August 12, 2014
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
Apple changes bylaws after facing criticism about lack of diversity on board – January 9, 2014


  1. The hell with so-called “diversity” How about hiring based upon competence, regardless of sex, gender (whatever that is), race, religion, disability, ad nauseeum…

    1. I agree….I’m all for diversity in the workforce, but only as long as they’re the most qualified workforce the company could get.

      Want diversity in the workforce? It’s not the reaponsibility of the companies hiring the people.

      It’s instead the responsibility of the prospective employees to do well in school and get the proper education to BE qualified for the jobs. As MDN said, with less than 20% of the tech degrees going to women, there shouldn’t be an expectation of a higher percentage of employees in said fields.

      However, if there is *significantly* less than 20% of the jobs having employees who are women, then perhaps there’s something actionable with hiring practices.

      1. And that is precisely the point. Apple has been much more successful than others (especially in tech) at removing the hiring bias that strongly favours male candidates.

        This bias is very symptomatic in the tech world, where geeky, socially inept engineers dominate the work force. Most often, this bias is subconscious, but it is extremely powerful. Male IT engineers have always preferred hiring more male IT engineers, even when among the few female candidates there is an exceptional one. You could often tell how wrong it would go even from the job interview — the engineers on the panel wouldn’t know how to talk to a woman candidate (or look her in the eyes).

        There is wealth of statistical data that demonstrates this bias, not just in the tech industry, but overall, and in the Silicon Valley, this bias is strongly pronounced.

        Apple has long ago recognised the importance of an even playing field. Their rather high scores on diversity aren’t due to some ‘affirmative action’-type programme (that artificially favours minority candidates), but due to the agressive training for those sitting on job interview panels and involved in selection and hiring of candidates.

        Leave it to men on this forum to lash out against diversity on principle…

        1. Predrag… seriously… “Strongly favors male candidates?” More accurately.. Apple has been successful at instituting policies that discriminate against equally or more qualified male candidates in order to create a more “diversified” environment.

          No one, including and especially Apple puts up a sign saying “Male Candidates Only.” The ONLY way you can bring down the number of males is by INTENTIONALLY NOT HIRING QUALIFIED MALE CANDIDATES BECAUSE THEY ARE MALE.

          As always discrimination is fine, as long as you do it the politically correct way.

        2. Unfortunately, I am not making this stuff up. Research very clearly shows this strong bias, especially in the IT industry. This bias is not institutionalised (obviously), so you’d be hard pressed to find that sign “Male Candidates Only”. However, as I mentioned before, people doing selection are still just people (i.e. humans), and men will apparently strongly favour male candidates. And if you ask them, they will very vocally deny this and claim that they ALWAYS pick the best qualified candidate.

          In my career, I was on interview panels many times, and I had struggled against this bias myself. In some instances, it was quite obvious (at least to me).

          No wonder women don’t bother with tech careers; what’s the use of pursuing it when you know the doors will be slamming in your face…

        3. Perhaps then future hiring interviews should be conducted double blind style with no video for interviewer or interviewee sitting in separate rooms and voice masking. If any relevant documents to show an interviewee’s work can be shared via document sharing on a laptop/desktop provided.

        4. In all seriousness, that may realistically be the only objective way. Symphony orchestras around the world have long ago adopted the exact same method: the candidate sits behind a screen (large enough just to obscure the figure, but not to block sound), and the panel knows nothing about the candidate (not even his/her sex) before they hear his/her playing and give assessment; only then do they get to see the résumé.

        5. Do you work in IT? Have you ever done recruiting, resume reviewing, or interviewing of candidates for IT positions?

          I have done all of that, with 25 years of IT experience in all areas, including 12 years as an independent consultant.

          I can assure you that the PRIMARY problem with getting more women in IT positions isn’t a gender bias, it’s lack of qualified candidates.

          Not saying there aren’t any…just that there are FAR fewer qualified female candidates than male.

          I remember reviewing resumes for a hiring batch a number of years ago where I worked (we had 10 or so positions, newly created). Out of over 400 resumes that we received, probably 30 were from women. That’s it.

          So, with that sort of ratio, what are the odds that ANY of those 30 are going to be a better candidate than ALL of the 400 men for the job? Not very good.

          Even hiring a single woman for one of those 10 jobs would be giving an outsized proportion of the jobs to women, based on the number of resumes submitted.

          And there’s the problem: people focus on “how few women work in IT,” when the limiting factor is actually “how many women WANT to work in IT?”

        6. If there were 30 resumes out of 400, then the odds are exactly 1:12. Hiring one woman for one of those ten jobs would be quite close to the actual ratio of candidates. And statistically, it is quite likely that those 30 female candidates would be well above average of those 400 male candidates, with respect to skills and experience. Obviously, I don’t know your specific situation, and it may well have been different, but statistically, this is the situation.

  2. So what? Diversity for the sake of diversity is just as bad as not hiring women, people of different races, etc. Why can’t Apple and these other companies simply focus on hiring the best people? If all of the best people just happen to be black, or just happen to be all women, why does it matter? Why must we categorize and group people together all the time? Why can’t we just be people?

    1. The only way to boost quality is to hire the most qualified regardless of gender, race, or any other political identity. Once you start favoring an item that is irrelevant to the quality of candidates, the quality of your product WILL diminish.

  3. Wow, the ignorance is strong here.
    It has been thoroughly documented, again and again, that companies full of white guys somehow tend to pick other white guys as “the most competent,” even when presented with equally qualified minority people or women. That doesn’t necessarily indicate an intentional bias, but it does reveal a bias.
    If your company is full of white guys, your company tends to unfairly tilt towards hiring more white guys. Diversity programs are attempts to correct an illegitimate bias.
    If you say you don’t know that, you are either really out of touch with well-documented reality, or pretending.
    Also, if you were in a group that tends to be unfairly passed over when seeking jobs in a specific industry, there’s a good chance you’d avoid even studying in that field. If women and minority people read the news, they know about that unfair bias. Is it surprising that many don’t go into tech? They aren’t stupid. In fact, as competent, driven people, many will just pick a field where their talents will be recognized and appreciated. Tech is an industry that still has higher illegitimate barriers to entry by women and minorities, despite its self-deluding “meritocracy” claims. To provide more of a supply, you’ve got to work on the demand side, as well. As more companies seek women and minority workers, and improve their work policies to be sure they are treated fairly, more will enter the field, instead of avoiding it.

    1. That is exactly my own argument. It is remarkable how many deluded people frequent forums here.

      Your post is right on the money on every level. And the most important point, I think, is the argument why women don’t bother going into IT. When a smart person sets out on a career, (s)he thinks about the prospects of success. Obviously, there will always be those who study art, music, history, archeology (i.e. people who have passion for non-lucrative fields), but there will also be many more of those who are at least a little bit pragmatic and who will think of pursuing law, business, finance, or engineering. For some, it will be a pursuit of passion; for many, it will be at least in part a pragmatic choice (“What should I choose in order to best succeed?”). When the hiring deck is stacked against your kind (woman, black, gay, etc), you would need to be extremely passionate in order to still go into engineering.

      The few women that are in engineering are there despite all odds; much like those Tuskegee airmen were most efficient in protecting their B17s — in order to make it, they had to be far better than the white pilots.

      We are NOT talking about some ‘affirmative action’, ‘positive bias’ or whatever you want to call it (programmes that skew selection towards the underrepresented). We are talking about removing artificial obstacles and barriers. Apple is making good progress on that and is reaping the benefit of getting better quality talent.

      1. Also, about women in IT being more exceptional due to overcoming the obstacles, you’re completely wrong, based on my experience.

        I have worked with a number of women in my 25+ years (probably 8% or so of co-workers).

        Of those, if I made a list of the 30 most competent, exceptional IT co-workers I’ve ever had, I don’t know that there’d be a single woman on the list. The only one who comes to mind was a black, female manager I had years ago…she was brilliant, but not sure she’d make the “top 30” cut.

        And I’m not saying there weren’t plenty of competent, even exceptional, ladies in my teams…just saying they weren’t *better* on average than their male counterparts.

        And I did contract work for 12 years of my 25, so I’ve had a LOT of coworkers.

        1. I’m not sure where you had worked so far, but in my experience, the few women in IT that I had worked with were generally better than most of their male peers. They were more meticulous, more thorough, their documentation was always more complete and timely, their code was always neat and legible…

          All this is anecdotal, but research does confirm this heavy male bias in IT. Apple is apparently well aware and is doing the right things to minimise it.

    2. Disagree. Many high school graduates go to college to study what INTERESTS them, with little thought to “what are the job prospects,” or even “am I any good at it?”

      Even among those who think that far out, most people that age live with the optimism that “I’ll be the one that can do it,” which is the flip side of the teenage “I’m immortal and nothing can hurt me” mentality that causes them to do much riskier things than an older person would do.

  4. I want to see more Asians in the NBA. If it’s all about how you look and not how well you can do your job then…what’s the hold up?
    Sorry Chin, you just can’t jump high enough. But, but, I ruv basketbar. You racist coach!!! No brack skin, no hire.

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