"Apple Diversity Stats: A Lot of White Men"

The title is from PC Magazine.

According to the second paragraph, 55% of the workforce at Apple is white.

But according to the Census Bureau, 77.7% of the US population is white.

So the first part of the headline, at least, is wrong. There seem to be too few whites at Apple.

The second part, of course, is right. Only about a third of Apple is women, when the correct number would be 50%.

The number that really jumps out is the number of Asians. For Apple, it’s 15%. For the US, on the other hand, it’s 5%. Apple seems to be hiring way to many Asians. About 3x too many. The article doesn’t mention the obvious solution: Apple could fix its diversity problem by firing 2/3 of their Asian employees, and replacing them with women. Particularly white women.

Good solution, or not?

Is there any evidence that there’s a problem to begin with? How many applicants are they getting from each demographic?

Got it in one.

Before we bitch about Apple, how about we look at the pool from which they are hiring instead of all of America.

Presumably, Apple hires mostly Software Engineers and Computer Engineers, and the usual set of administrative personnel like accountants, lawyers, etc. (I’m sure they have a larger than usual number of designers too).

What’s the gender and racial makeup of university graduates/attendees? Given the classes I took while majoring in Computer Science (I know, data point of one, but I believe the same is true at most CS and CmpE schools), if Apple has 33% women they have WAY more women on average than most of these schools graduate in those fields.

But, I’m not going to blame the colleges either: they can only admit those who apply. And it’s not like there are 18 year old women beating on the doors of colleges to try and get in. On the contrary, technical colleges work very hard to get the ratio of women and non-asian minorities up, and have been trying for years.

You really want to change the demographics of Apple? You need to start changing the attitudes of students in K-12.

Stupid “solution” searching for a problem. There is no reason any particular employer should hire a workforce that mirrors national demographics. Especially not an employer that requires a workforce with a particular set of skills.

Are we assuming that every company should be a demographically representative sample of the general population, or just Apple for some reason?

ETA: Nice simulpost, Oakminster.

I think you’re being a bit facetious.

Let’s look at what jobs Apple/Google are hiring for. Majority are in programming, IT, and media areas. What percentage of college graduates/job seekers with these skills are white/women/asian/latino? How about interest level for these groups and computer literacy?

The hiring tends to be from “top” schools which have diversity problems at that level.

Some commentry from a (pdf - not too big) study in 2003. Somewhat dated but it shows where the current ethnic divide is coming from.

For women from Dept. of Labor - again an older study

**How great a disparity is there between the number of women and men employed in high-tech occupations? **Biological technicians and statisticians were the only two technology-oriented occupations in which more women were employed than men in 2001.
According to 2001 Current Population Survey (CPS) data, one out of ten employed engineers was a woman, while two of ten employed engineering technologists and technicians were women. Among engineering specialties, industrial, chemical, and metallurgical/materials engineers were the only occupations in which women were more highly represented than the overall percent of total women engineers. Women made up 17 percent of all industrial engineers, 12 percent of metallurgical/metal engineers, and 11.5 percent of chemical engineers. Among all other engineering specialties–aerospace, mining, petroleum, nuclear, agricultural, civil, electrical or electronic, mechanical, marine, or naval architects–women represented fewer than 11 percent. At the same time, three out of ten computer systems analysts, engineers, and scientists were women. In addition, one out of four computer programmers was a woman. …
**Bolding **mine.

From Wiki regarding women in computing:
…Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Catalyst in 2006 indicated that women comprise 27-29% of the computing workforce.[8][9] A National Public Radio report in 2013 stated that about 20% of all US computer programmers are female.[10]

Uping the woman count would be valid.

I’m a big proponent of hiring the best person for the job regardless of their demographics.

I’m not one to advocate any type of quota system, but you can’t look at the national demographic, by race. They’re hiring mostly from a few states, especially CA, so maybe compare the demographics of CA to the Apple employee profile, for a first order analysis. If you really feel the need to do such a thing, that is.

But California is 14% Asian and 39% White so they should fire some White men and hire some Hispanic women.

I worked for an engineering company - lots of white, Asian and Indian engineers - VERY FEW black and Latino engineers. Certainly not half the engineering workforce was female.

And do you know how hard it is to find a Latino engineer - or a Black one? Seriously, these guys would get out of college with tons of job offers in hand because they filled out the diversity numbers.

Software engineering has similar demographics.

More women, latinos and african americans need to graduate from programs, then the numbers will look better.

(I have no idea what Apple’s stats are, but my engineering company was a closely related industry - 60% of our workforce was engineering. 80% if you included software developers who were under IT. If every single accountant, marketer, hr specialist, security guard, lawyer, etc we had on staff was a non-white/Asian/Indian woman - our numbers STILL would have been skewed).

And Silicon Valley is even more so. Demographics of Cupertino, where Apple HQ is. 63.1% Asian, 29.3% white. So whites are heavily over-represented.

Apple says they think it’s a problem:

He also said they’d put $100 million toward fixing it. He didn’t say anything about hiring fewer Asians though. It’s going to hard to fix, unless they do something about that.

I know Apple is huge, wealthy, and influential, but the lack of diversity in technology is a big, systemic problem - even they might not be able to do much about it. I’m glad they’re going to try, though.

(Side note: Apple’s numbers here are quite a bit more diverse than the other major tech companies that have published such reports. Ars Technica speculates that this may be due to Apple’s sizable retail workforce.

Why is it a problem to hire too many Asians?


Because we (Asians) really need to be better represented in law, politics, and other high-influence fields. All this STEM stuff makes us politically invisible.

Though I doubt you were asking why it’s a problem for Asians.

No reason their demographic should match Silicon Valley. If one were inclined to measure such things, I would take CA as a 1st order baseline, or maybe that of the top 10 tech-heavy states. IF one were included to measure such things.

Your interpretation of the census figures is, for the purpose of this exercise, misguided.

The 77.7% of whites includes most Americans who also identify as Hispanic or Latino. Once you remove those people, the percentage is Americans who identify as “White only, not Hispanic or Latino” is 62.6%.

Given that Hispanic is one of the categories that your linked article is assessing, this is a more accurate way to assess the percentages for the purpose of this discussion.

None of this means, in my opinion, that Apple necessarily has a problem in its racial/ethnic makeup, but i believe that it’s misleading to say that 77.7% of Americans are white, without disaggregating the Hispanics and Latinos from that population.

Why is racial diversity the only metric? What about political or philosophical diversity? How many communists or anarchists has Apple hired? Are anti-technologists underrepresented among Apple’s workforce?

I was asking why it was a problem for anybody. If your position is that Apple would be doing you a favor by not hiring you and thus causing you to go to law school, I suppose that is one way to look at it.


I’m a white woman in technology - and I’m not sure I buy that. That being that it is a problem.

To paraphrase Neil deGrasse Tyson “I’ve never been black, but I’ve been a woman all my life.”

I’ve been involved in a lot of women in technology groups and WIT groups would really like to see more women in technology. And I’ve worked with a lot of young women because I’ve been involved in Girl Scouts.

Women (and minorities) should be encouraged to follow their dreams and their interests - not encouraged to become software engineers to make corporate America feel good about diversity. We certainly should not discourage them from having those dreams lead them into STEM fields - but I want my daughter to find a career SHE enjoys - not one that furthers the cause of women in society. Maybe she’ll get lucky and it will be both - she will be like Tyson and be both a minority/woman in a STEM field AND visible encouragement for women and people of color to follow if so inspired. Or maybe she’ll get lucky and become an English teacher or a nurse or a stay at home mom if that is what she wants.

I got into IT because the door I had been following had been slammed shut due to discrimination. I’ve never loved IT. I’m simply good enough at it, entered into it at the right time, and have been lucky enough to have made a very nice living for a number of years. But here I am, a quarter of a century into a career that - well, I rejected this path in high school because it didn’t interest me. I made a decision NOT to major in it, despite having been told by several teachers that I excelled in the subject matter because I thought it was boring. And neither I nor it have changed. There have been times when I’ve really enjoyed the job that I do, but it isn’t a job I chose.

Women and minorities interested in STEM fields should be encouraged - and most definitely they should not be discouraged as often happens - and if Apple wants to throw some scholarship money towards encouraging them, that’s cool. But if women and minorities don’t want these career paths, then it isn’t a problem. What would be a problem is pushing people into roles so other people can look at the pictures in the employee directory and feel good about a company’s hiring practices.