Apple Making Improvements in Diversity Hiring, Focused on Long-Term Gains

Diversity in Silicon Valley is a challenge for every company, and that includes Apple, a tech giant that is highly focused on the topic under CEO Tim Cook. Global Human Resources Chief Denise Young Smith spoke at Fortune Brainstorm Tech, where she said that improving diversity has "large scale, complex challenges," adding that "[the lack of diversity] didn't happen overnight, so it's not going to be changed overnight."

She said that Apple is will be releasing an update to its Diversity Report later this summer, and that the company has shown "movement" in hiring more women and more minorities, including more African Americans. She said that Apple had hired some 2,200 African Americans in the last year—while that represents an improvement in diversity hiring, it still leaves most ethnic minorities and women under-represented at Apple compared to the population as a whole.

Fortune posted a portion of Denise Young Smith's interview: note that this video was posted by Fortune using Flash—the magazine hasn't gotten the word that Flash stinks to high heaven and needs to go.

Apple's numbers will be compared to numbers from Facebook and Google, both of which released their own updated diversity numbers earlier in the summer. Both companies showed a small amount of progress in the hiring of women and ethnic minorities, but it was tiny, incremental improvement.

Much of Silicon Valley is focused on the subject of diversity, but as Apple's HR chief noted, it's not something that will be "solved" overnight. Apple itself is working with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the National Center for Women and Information Technology to improve networking opportunities and other infrastructure that will help steer more graduates to the company.

Ms. Smith said that Apple will also increase the transparency of its Diversity Report when it is updated later this summer, and delve into what some of the numbers mean.