Future rests in having more women and diversity in Apple – Tim Cook

8 Jun 2015

Ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has opened up about the company’s hiring policy, saying that its main priority is now to increase the number of women and people from diverse ethnicities in its workforce.

The company published its first diversity report back in August of last year and it showed that Apple followed many other of its kin in having a company largely dominated by white males in tech roles, with 72pc of leadership positions filled by white men.

But now just under a year on, Cook has revealed in an interview with Mashable that greater diversity is now seen as the future of the company and he laid out his thoughts on how to encourage those on the fringes of tech to come into the previously tight inner circle.

Most notably, he dismisses the idea that women in particular have kept themselves purposefully outside of the tech industry and says that, rather, the industry has perhaps unwittingly pushed the status quo.

“I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” Cook said in the interview. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”

‘The appalling silence of good people’

Following this theme, he raises the issue of the “silent majority” doing the most damage, rather than any perceived fringe elements of society being behind the lack of change.

“The problem, as Dr. King said, is ‘the appalling silence of the good people’,'” Cook said.

“I try to look at myself in the mirror and ask myself I’m doing enough. And if the answer is no, I try to do something more. And sometimes you do things that don’t work and sometimes you do things that do work. Somehow we’ve got to get enough people to believe how important it is, and see how wrong it is not doing it.”

The first change Cook has hinted at is one of the most common examples cited as an example of a lack of diversity, that being, a lack of females in panels, particularly WWDC.

This, Cook hinted at, will not be the case this year.

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Tim Cook mural image via thierry ehrmann/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic