New statistics from Apple show that the tech giant has made progress toward increasing its workforce's racial and gender diversity — but only by just a hair.
On Apple's website, the company said that 11 percent of its new U.S. hires within the past year were black, 13 percent were Hispanic and 19 percent were Asian. More than half of all Apple employees, 54 percent, identify as white.
When it came to gender diversity, 35 percent of Apple's new hires globally were women. Overall, that brings Apple's gender ratio to 69 percent men and 31 percent women; last year, the company reported that ratio was 70 percent to 30 percent, respectively.
The least diverse section of Apple's staff is its leadership, as is the case with many technology firms. The company said that 72 percent of employees in leadership roles are men and 63 percent are white.
The new numbers reveal that the company's hiring increased the percentages of black employees at the firm by one percentage point from the company's 2014 report, while Asian employees went up by three percentage points. The numbers for Hispanic employees remained flat, at 11 percent.
There are signs of hope, then, for diversity advocates. A message on the company's website said that Apple had "hired more diverse candidates" in the past 12 months than in any other year to date. Apple has also publicly committed to, for example, including historically black colleges in its recruiting pipeline. Along with several other tech companies, Apple has also sponsored several programs to get girls interested in technology fields.
Apple's board, however, did vote last week to reject a proposal to institute an “accelerated recruitment policy” at the firm that would target underrepresented minorities at the firm, saying that it would be too difficult to implement.
"We believe that the proposal is unduly burdensome and not necessary because Apple has demonstrated to shareholders its commitment to inclusion and diversity, which are core values for our company" the company's board said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Apple numbers are of particular interest not only to Apple, but also to Twitter. The social networking company recently hired away Apple's former diversity head, Jeffrey Siminoff -- under whom many of Apple's more recent diversity initiatives began. The appointment of Siminoff, a white man who is gay, drew criticism from those who have repeatedly called on Twitter to increase racial diversity at the company.
Still, Apple's slow progress may show that the tech industry's predominately white, male workforce is likely to stay that way for a while -- despite incredible pressure on the tech world from activists, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Jackson had advocated for the tech industry to begin reporting diversity numbers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which these tech companies are not required to do by law. Several companies now regularly release these reports.