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Tech Companies Not as Diverse as They Think

Under the radar last week, Apple quietly published an account of its employment diversity record through August 1, 2015. And while the data offer evidence of some progress in the corporate behemoth’s hiring practices, the company isn’t performing at nearly the level its CEO Tim Cook declared it to be taking last year, when he breathlessly announced all kinds of diversity-designed personnel agendas.


While Apple doesn’t account for the disparity in the number of visible minorities apparently hired last year and the reality released today, the scene is revealing for what it has to say about the current state of diversity hiring on the tech landscape.

The diversity push

 Like its contemporaries, Apple is being impelled to create a more racially diverse workplace and so is spending money and time developing policies, mission statements and recruitment materials that make pronouncements about its commitment to the stuff.

But the effectiveness of this push is questionable. A recently published longitudinal study of more than 700 American organizations found that diversity training programs actually have little positive effect and may even decrease a company’s representation of black women.

Stock photo diversity

Still, well-meaning tech companies remain keen to represent themselves to the world as a colourful, forward-thinking, inclusive lot. Check out any corporate career page and you’ll be overwhelmed by smiling photos of truly diverse workforces, everyone cleanly represented in accordance with their representation in the general population.

But look a little closer and you’ll notice that some of these diverse folks are duplicated across multiple career pages, whence corporate recruiters have lifted them to play roles in depictions of their staff pool.

How to be

 So what’s a manager to do? First, they should endeavour not to distort the reality of their level of corporate diversity. Certainly if they’re a genuinely sundried crowd they should let the world know as much. But misrepresentation doesn’t look good on anybody.

Second, they should appreciate the tricky lots of their own recruitment teams. These are the folks, after all, charged with finding employees from a diverse pot of potentials who must struggle with “you’ll-fit-right-in-here” enticements that are in fact dubious reflections of their companies’ realities.

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