Apple is one of the world’s largest tech companies, employing over 150,000 people globally. They have also been praised for their representation of women in tech, with their latest gender diversity data showing that women represent 34.8% of their workforce. Now, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has announced the launch of a brand new development programme which he hopes will help to close the gender gap in tech.
Diversity and inclusion is a hugely important part of the way that Apple operates. Their D&I strategy aims to build a culture where everybody belongs, and to spark innovation. Between 2014 and 2021, Apple reported an 89% increase in the number of female employees globally. Not only that, they also increased the number of women in leadership positions across the world by 87%. So, the work they’re doing to boost gender diversity in the company is definitely working. When you take a look at the latest data, women currently hold 26.7% of technology roles worldwide, so Apple is way above the average.
In 2021, Tim Cook teamed up with over 30 CEOs and executives from world-leading tech companies including Google, Twitter and LinkedIn to form a coalition called ‘Catalyze Tech’ to improve representation of minority groups in Silicon Valley. It’s no secret that diversity is lacking in tech, and that the tech industry remains dominated by white men. Initiatives like this one allow companies to hold themselves accountable and make a substantial effort to improve their hiring processes and put diverse workers in more senior leadership roles.
Apple’s chief executive has recently admitted that there are still not enough women at the table when it comes to the IT industry. He also commented that “Technology’s a great thing that will accomplish many things, but unless you have diverse views at the table that are working on it, you don’t wind up with great solutions.”
Tim also spoke to the BBC about changing perceptions of young girls at school and encouraging more of them to pursue STEM careers. He said companies cannot simply ‘cop out’ and say that there aren’t enough women taking computer science degrees. He believes that we all have a responsibility to fundamentally change the number of people taking these science degrees. This year’s GCSE results showed a slight increase in the number of girls taking computing, however they do still remain outnumbered, making up just 21.28% of the students taking the course.
To help to close the gender gap in tech, Apple has launched their new App Store Founders Programme in the UK, specifically with the aim of supporting female app developers. Currently women hold just 25% of coding jobs worldwide, and are paid 30% less than men. The programme is Apple’s latest effort to help to change these figures. Jen Walsh, who is Senior Director of the App Store said:
“The UK has a thriving developer community and we’re thrilled to play a role in supporting it. Crucial to the continued innovation and progress of the App Store is ensuring there is a diverse set of developers that can build brilliant apps to meet the needs of users around the world. The launch of the App Store Foundations Program here in the UK, with its focus on female developers, will help nurture the existing community of female founders here and inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.”
The new UK programme is an extension of an existing programme in Europe which has reportedly helped to support over a thousand developers by providing teaching and mentoring from App Store leaders. Developers can expect to cover things like coding, Apple’s APIs as well as tips on marketing their apps to generate money from them.
Large technology giants like Apple are so important in the journey to close the gender gap in tech. By leading the way with initiatives like their new developer programme, other tech firms will be inspired to improve their own diversity efforts and follow suit.