What still needs to be done for true workforce diversity and equality

Posted August 22

Apple has recently announced that it's closed the pay gap between workers with similar jobs, regardless of gender and race. But has that fixed the disparity between minorities and whites, and men and women? (Deseret Photo)

Apple recently joined other tech giants in announcing it pays employees the same amount for similar jobs and performances, regardless of gender or race, and is also working toward a more diverse workforce by hiring more women and minorities.

“We’ve achieved pay equity in the United States for similar roles and performance,” the latest Apple report stated. “Women earn one dollar for every dollar male employees earn. And underrepresented minorities earn one dollar for every dollar white employees earn.”

The company reported that it was stepping up its diverse hires, with new women hires up from 31 percent in 2014 to 37 percent today, and “underrepresented” minority new hires up from 21 percent in 2014 to 27 percent, noted. Underrepresented minorities do not include Asians, it continued, as they represent 19 percent of Apple’s workforce and 24 percent of new hires.

The Huffington Post noted that a previous critic of Apple’s diversity, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, has come out in support of the company’s efforts to increase diversity by recruiting engineers of color from “historically black colleges and universities and scholarship organizations.”

“They are clearly setting the pace, making measurable progress for three consecutive years. They’ve acted with intention, not just aspiration,” Jackson said in a statement, according to The Huffington Post.

And while welcome, these steps toward diversity are just that — a few steps. As noted, men make up 62 percent of Apple’s leadership, same as last year. And the number of white people in leadership has increased, from 63 percent last year to 67 percent this year.

To be fair, noted this may be result of the “undeclared” ethnic category that was eliminated this year.

Apple also isn’t the first tech/digital company to announce that it pays its employees equally – Amazon, PayPal and Microsoft made similar announcements earlier this year, noted.

But Forbes contributor Tim Worstall argued “even if absolutely every employer in America managed to do this we would still see gender and minority pay gaps.” The issue isn’t solely or mainly about employers discriminating among employees rather a case of “who works where doing what, not how the people doing the same job are treated,” it continued.

For example, men and women tend to do different jobs, so pay equality between men and women in the same job may not mean much for overall gender equality. And the pay gap between minorities, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, and whites may be tied to the different educational opportunities each has, Worstall wrote.

The numbers of minorities employed by Apple are still small, with 9 percent black employees and 12 percent Hispanic, The Washington Post noted, but it’s still better than others in its industry. As of January, black and Hispanic employees make up 2 and 3 percent of Google’s workforce, it continued. Whereas black and Hispanic employees make up 2 and 4 percent of Facebook’s workforce.

It has been suggested by critics that Apple has a more diverse workforce because it employs lower-paid workers in its retail stores, which Facebook and Google lack, The Washington Post said. Still, there was a 1 percent increase for women and blacks in Apple’s technical jobs, it continued.

Email:, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.


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