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Apple is Calling for Tech Innovators to Diversify Recruitment Efforts

Clare Hopping

Apple is Calling for Tech Innovators to Diversify Recruitment Efforts

Apple_Tim_Cook

According to Apple, hiring diverse talent is the key to technological progress. Find out how you can give your company a competitive edge by diversifying your recruitment.

The tech world is plagued by certain stereotypes, and at least one of them is true: the industry is dominated by white men.

Apple CEO Tim Cook evaluated his own company, and discovered that 72% of Apple executives were of the same category. Now, he’s urging companies to hire more women and minorities, both applauding recent progress and highlighting the long road ahead, according to the Ashdown Group. And considering the huge role of women and minorities in the history of computing, his advice makes both social and practical sense.

The Diverse History of Computer Programming

Many don’t know that the first computer programmer was a woman – Ada Lovelace, born in 1815. According to the University of Kent, she wrote the first computer algorithm, and her legacy in electronics has remained strong even a century after her birth.

Computers could not exist without women like her, as well as women like Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (as The Telegraph reports), who wrote one of the first – and most influential – programming languages. There’s also Jean Jennings Bartik (her biography provided here by the University of St Andrews), whose team of elite female mathematicians programmed the first computer, ENIAC. Hedy Lamarr invented the very wireless technology that enables modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies (and which allows you to read this article).

There are other groups beyond white men that have storied computing legacies: Evelyn Boyd Granville and Frank Greene (his obituary provided here by Alto Palto Online) were among the first African-Americans to break racial barriers in the computing world; Asian-American An Wang (her biography provided here by Encyclopedia Britannica) was the renowned inventor who created the magnetic memory core, a device that was used ubiquitously for decades. Alan Turing, called the ‘creator of modern computing’ by the BBC, was a gay man. Yet despite the rich legacy of diversity in technological innovation, the modern tech industry does little to reflect this.

Diversity Matters

Startup accelerator Wayra recently released a study showing that while the UK’s tech sector is more diverse than Silicon Valley, the road to equality is still a long one, especially for women. Elsewhere, Business Insider discusses the fact that women only comprise 30% of the total startup workforce – men are 86% more likely to receive venture capital funding.

Computer Weekly notes that the percentage of women and ethnic minorities in tech has actually been decreasing – some figures put the total percentage of women in the IT workforce at just 14%.

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So why does diversity matter? In short, a group whose members have a broad range of backgrounds and experiences will create valuably different perspectives, leading to more creativity, productivity, and innovation. The numbers back that up – according to McKinsey & Company, gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the least diverse companies. That number rises to 35% for racially-diverse companies. And in the UK, the highest performing companies also have the highest gender diversity among senior executives.

Recruitment Is the Key to Diversity


Firms are seeking to reach a far broader group of potential applicants to create more diversity in hiring. Some methods, such as video interviewing software, are especially useful for applicants who can’t commute to a live interview due to distance, fiscal limitations, or physical disabilities. Solutions such as live video interviews open up the potential for firms to interview job seekers from a variety of backgrounds and locations.

The goal is to ensure that interview processes are objective, consistent, and fair. As Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has come to notice, representing women and minority groups is good for both business and for company culture.

Click here to learn how to improve your recruitment strategy to bring more diversity into your workplace.

(Main image credit: Mike Deerkoski/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.