Apple's latest employee diversity figures show change is happening, slowly

There are now over 4,500 more women working at Apple than there were last year

Technology giant Apple is becoming more and more diverse but progress is slow, as the company's latest diversity report to the US government shows.

According to Apple's recently-released EEO-1 Federal Employer Information filing, in the last year the company has recruited thousands of new employees from under-represented groups in America, in order to try to move away from their white male-dominated staff.

Compared to 2014, there are now 4,586 more women at Apple, 1,475 more black people, and 1,633 more hispanic people.

However, since Apple has a total US staff of over 72,000 people, these additions create only small changes - women now make up 30 per cent of Apple's workforce, compared with 27.7 last year.

As of 1 August 2015, the date that the EEO-1 figures are from, 8.7 per cent of employees are black, a small rise from 8 per cent in 2014, and 11.8 per cent are hispanic, compared to 11.5 per cent in the previous report.

Almost 60 per cent of Apple's American employees are white, and almost 70 per cent are male. With the release of last year's report, Apple CEO Tim Cook said "there is a lot more work to be done," expressing his commitment to increasing diversity at his company.

In a letter posted on the diversity page on Apple's website, Cook says: "Diversity is critical to innovation and it is essential to Apple’s future. We aspire to do more than just make our company as diverse as the talent available to hire. We must address the broad underlying challenges, offer new opportunities, and create a future generation of employees as diverse as the world around us."

Compared to many other leading tech companies, Apple is doing quite well in the diversity stakes - the most recent reports from Google and Facebook show only 2 per cent of staff at both are black, a figure that drops to 1 per cent for both when only looking at technical employees.

As Denise Young Smith, Apple's head of human resources said at a Colorado tech conference in July last year, the company's diversity issues won't be solved overnight. Things are progressing, but at a glacier pace.

Apple is naturally limited in its hiring by what kinds of people are qualified. The company has such a low number of black people on its technical staff because the best computer science courses at major universities also have diversity issues - the problem begins long before job candidates make it into Apple's interview room.

However, most tech workers would agree that a more diverse group of people is often much better at solving a problem than a group of clones - it may take a long time, but increasing diversity could ensure Apple's success in the future.

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