Apple Investors Reject Diversity Proposal
Apple touts its commitment to diversity, but its shareholders don’t seem to care all that much about it. On Tuesday, Apple investors overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have urged the company to ramp up its efforts to hire African Americans, Latinos and other people of color for its board of directors and senior management positions. As is the case at many tech companies, members of such groups have been underrepresented at Apple compared with the general population.
The vote marked the second year in a row shareholders have rejected the proposal, which called for Apple to have an “accelerated recruitment policy” to diversify its leadership ranks. Because it received less than 6 percent of shareholder votes this year, Apple can block it from appearing on its proxy ballot next year, supporters noted.
“Apple successfully duped investors and the public into believing that diversity is not something that should be a priority,” said Tony Maldonado, the Apple investor who submitted the proposal. “As a shareholder, I’m disappointed because I know that Apple’s shocking lack of diversity leads to a weaker return on my investment.”
Apple representatives did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. But in the proxy statement the company sent to investors in January, it urged shareholders to reject the proposal, arguing that it was already taking significant steps to diversify its workforce and help train women and minority workers for jobs in tech. It also argued that it already releases detailed information about the diversity of its workforce.
“The ‘accelerated recruiting policy’ called for by this proposal is not necessary or appropriate because we have already demonstrated our commitment to a holistic view of inclusion and diversity,” the company said in its statement.
It also noted that shareholders had rejected the same proposal last year, but argued that showed investors were satisfied with its efforts.
But if you exclude sales workers, which comprise some 28 percent of Apple’s employee base and primarily staff the company’s retail stores, the iPhone maker’s diversity looks even worse. Among non-sales workers, blacks comprised just 7.3 percent of Apple’s workforce in July, Hispanics only 10 percent and Native Americans some 0.33 percent. Women represented just 30.3 percent of workers in non-sales jobs.