Shareholder resolution looks to force Apple to put more ‘people of color’ in high-profile positions

“Apple Inc. shareholders could make history next year by deciding whether the company should be forced to increase the number of non-white executives and directors, with a vote on a proposal the iPhone maker has tried to squelch,” Laura Colby reports for Bloomberg. “A resolution submitted by an investor who lives in New York and London would require Apple to put more ‘people of color’ in such high-profile roles to increase diversity. Apple told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it believes it doesn’t have to include the proposal in its proxy materials, contending it’s an attempt to ‘micromanage’ recruitment.”

“The SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance said in a Dec. 11 letter that the agency didn’t agree with the company. But it’s up to Apple whether to bring the matter to a vote at the 2016 annual meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled,” Colby reports. “The company could decide not to include the matter in its proxy. That could bring an enforcement action by the SEC. The proposal for an ‘accelerated recruitment policy’ was submitted in September by Antonio Avian Maldonado II, who owns 645 Apple shares. He said he was spurred to act after looking at photos of the directors with his teenage son, who asked him why nearly everyone was white. The board is ‘a little bit too vanilla,’ said Maldonado, the creative director for Insignia Entertainment, a music company.”

“At Apple, the percentage of blacks and Hispanics in top positions has declined, according to the company’s website, with Hispanics at 6 percent last year, down from 11 percent in 2014, and blacks at 3 percent, down from 7 percent. Managers of Asian descent went to 21 percent from 15 percent,” Colby reports. “Six of the eight Apple directors are white. Andrea Jung is Asian-American and James A. Bell, an African American, joined the board in October.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Getting the absolute best people should remain Apple’s ultimate goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some employees, consciously or unconsciously, consider certain employees, or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota? That would be a suboptimal result for Apple and everyone involved.

The best and desired outcome is for the quest for diversity to work in Apple’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool would likely result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized workforce would likely be capable of delivering.

Regardless and of course, someday it sure would be nice for everyone to just be able to evaluate a person’s potential, not measuring and tabulating superficial, meaningless things like skin color and gender.

How do we ever get to the point where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” when we insist on judging people by the color of their skin?

SEE ALSO:
Apple leads Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Google on gender diversity among Bay Area companies – November 17, 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

57 Comments

  1. When we talk about racism. Both side are equally racist. The one who talk for race and the other who talk not for the race. One is pro the other is against. So please shutup. Fscks. Just get clever.

  2. Judging by the MDN take, as well as the responses, Americans are a very naive bunch and believe the age of discrimination had ended last century.

    Regrettably, that is simply not so. While I understand the dangers of artificially forcing diversity by instituting quotas, there continues to be a problem of a severe hiring bias, especially in the tech industry. This is, for the most part, natural: tech geeks are socially even less adept than most other professionals, and when they hire others, they choose (usually unconsciously, but sometimes even on purpose) the kind that looks and talks exactly like them, even if objectively more competent candidates are there, but are of different race / colour / gender / religion.

    Talent recruitment industry continues to rely heavily on the interview as the primary selection method, even though studies upon studies have proven that it is in fact the most unreliable, inaccurate and ineffective way to evaluate candidates for a job. There continue to be people (in management position, no less), who declare that they “know from the moment he walks in” whether the candidate is good or bad, an assertion disproved in numerous studies.

    The HBO comedy “Silicon Valley” touches upon this a bit, when the team of main characters ends up hiring a female developer; the immense social awkwardness and friction during the hiring process (used for a great comedic effect) strays very little from the reality of not just Silicon Valley of today, but many other industries in America (and elsewhere).

    Apple is trying to do whatever it can to eliminate hiring bias and make sure the best (i.e. most qualified, experienced, skilled candidate, with most complementary personality that fits best) is hired. While the pool of diverse talent (the definition of ‘diversity’ being as discussed here, meaning race, colour and gender) is quite shallow in the tech world, the reality remains that the same tech world continues to avoid considering talent even from such a shallow pool.

    Neither Apple, nor the rest of the tech (or any other) industry should be forcing some artificial diversity quota, but none of them should ever be let off the hook until their hiring has completely eliminated that perennial racial and gender bias.

    1. Diversity laws are not intended to help shift a change in society’s thinking.

      They are designed to help the ones supporting the laws feel better about themselves and THEIR biases, much like the prejudices you have confessed to having as a young man.

      We have spent 50 years correcting the wrongs of the past. After we have reached the three generation mark, it is time to admit that human nature everywhere is to feel more comfortable with groups similar to you, which doesn’t limit itself to skin color. There are different faiths, political leanings, music, sports, eating habits, and on and on.

      In a diverse society like America’s, this can cause friction when any mention of differences make headlines.

      Get over it and learn to respect others.

    2. Allow me to repeat this for you Predrag.

      Thelonious Mac Registered User
      Thursday, December 31, 2015 – 3:04 pm · Reply

      If you tell me you hired me, even just in part because my skin is brown, I’d start looking for another job. I would feel disgusted and cheated.

      For a company like Apple to hire you, particularly for high level and engineering jobs is an achievement to be proud of. If you are told it is because you have the right skin tone or genitals, it robs you of the achievement. It is condescending. It is the worst kind of patronizing RACISM. You feel inferior.

      UNDERSTAND THIS. It’s NO DIFFERENT really than being DENIED a job because of your race. Either way you are denied the satisfaction of saying I earned this. Either way you are reduced to nothing more than your skin color or your genitals.

      Who among you would want this? Seriously. Liberals I’m talking to you. If you ran an Olympic race and came in third, but the judges pushed you up to first because of your skin color, would you accept the award? Really? Would you feel as if you won? Would you be proud of what you had done? Could you look your competitors in the eyes and say I am as good as you?

      THIS DOES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO RECTIFY ANY GODDAMN SOCIAL INJUSTICES. In fact, if anything, artificial diversity is a set back. It is garbage “everyone gets a trophy” social engineering that necessarily lowers the standards of hiring for those organizations that practice it.

    3. Singling me out and giving me an award because I am black disparages me and robs me of as much self respect as singling me out because I am black and discriminating against me. Either way you are forcing me into a category outside the norm. Flip the coin and you are STILL CALLING ME NIGGER. You are STILL A RACIST. Take your depressing liberal pity somewhere else. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I am out to garner the respect of my peers.

      1. I don’t understand why are you telling me this. In my post, I had mentioned this twice: implementing (and enforcing) artificial quotas is dangerous and bad.

        What I wrote about at length is REMOVING BIAS, so that you, who happen to be black, would NOT be eliminated from the competition simply because you are black. NOT that you get a preferential treatment; just that you get the SAME treatment.

        Once again: we have a long way to go before we completely eliminate the racial and gender bias in our hiring practices.

  3. Most professional symphony orchestra have successfully eliminated racial / gender / colour bias. Their hiring process requires an audition in front of a qualified panel, but sitting (and playing) behind a screen. Candidates are presented by number (not a name, so the panel cannot know if they are listening to Saito Tanaka, or Shaquan Wilson, or Kieran O’Hanlon, or Jianqun Xing, or Ahmad Al-Zawani…). The only thing that expert selection panel can do is hear the musicians play and rank them based on what they hear from behind that panel. The result in the end reflects the bias inherent in the pool of candidates (which today is, in this particular case, rather heavy with musicians from Japan, Korea and China), but reflects quite accurately the talent pool itself, and more importantly, ensures that the really best candidates are selected.

      1. Well, if you tried to understand the reasons behind auditions behind the screen, you’d understand too.

        It is quite simple: in order to eliminate racial / gender bias at hiring, these organisations are now conducting their hiring interviews (auditions) in a way that prevents the hiring panels from actually knowing the race and gender of the candidate, forcing them to evaluate the candidates solely on their skill (=merit). Rather than spend time and money attempting to train people to consciously try to avoid bias, they simply eliminated using a very simple method: put the candidate behind a curtain. It is effective, and the results confirm what has always been well known: people have racial and gender bias, and when we eliminate those, we end up with a much more skilled work force, which ends up being quite diverse.

        The only exception to this rule is the Vienna Philharmonic: the only orchestra in the world that is still all-male (and all-white and practically all-blonde) and has the most opaque and obfuscated hiring process in the world; yet, they are arguably the best, if not one of the top five symphony orchestras in the world. Once could argue, that’s despite (rather than because) of their overtly discriminative hiring practices.

  4. The problem is: bias happens unconsciously. Malcolm Gladwell describes the case of professional musicians in Europe. Conductors _believed_ they could hear important differences in applicants that lead to hiring them — mostly males. But then application recitals were “blinded” to the conductors: conductors could not see the musicians, only hear their music playing. And — Lo and Behold — half the orchestra quickly became female! That includes a petite woman who earned the tuba position. And other women playing instruments traditionally considered “male”.

    Same in business in the US. Male and female tags on the exact same behavior can lead to seriously different evaluations. Behavior in men can be construed as “assertive”, whereas in women the same brhavior would be seen as “pushy”.

    I don’t know what the answer is. But judging from many posters to this website, I am less sure now than I have ever been that the US is rapidly transcending bias and bigotry based on gender, color, religion, and sexual orientation.

    We should all try harder to look at people objectively, each with a spark of the divine.

    And try to put our own little ripples in the universe…

    1. Perhaps Apple shareholders should demand that Apple only conducts interviews with prospective employees hidden behind a screen?

      Unless the person has some gross deformity that would make them unsuitable for dealing with the public or otherwise impede the ability to perform the job and/or the workplace (such conditions would have to be disclosed during the hiring process), shouldn’t every company hire this way?

      Isn’t this the solution to eliminating racial and gender bias? After a few decades, when everybody realizes that the best people are all different colors genders, simply dispose of the screens. They would no longer be needed.

  5. I don’t see these people’s faces. I may be selfish, butI think I only want good results no matter who’s going to fill these spots. It’s fine Apple wants to diversify its employees but as a shareholder I don’t think it really concerns me. That’s a company decision. Apple probably isn’t breaking any laws by having a majority of Caucasians in top positions. Wall Street sure doesn’t care about the face of a company. All they want is financial results.

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