Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Lyft releases its first-ever diversity report

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Lyft has produced its first-ever diversity report, months after its chief competitor Uber released its own data about the make-up of its staff.

While its numbers ring similar to other tech companies—which are predominantly white and male?—?Lyft does have more female employees than Uber. Overall, 42 percent of Lyft’s employees identify as women, compared to Uber’s 36 percent.

Lyft, however, is more white than Uber with 63 percent white employees opposed to Uber’s 49 percent. Uber bested Lyft by having a better representation of Asian, black, and Latinx employees overall, with 30 percent, 8 percent, and 5 percent respectively?—?compared to 19 percent, 6 percent, and 7 percent for Lyft.

All of those numbers shrink considerably for tech and leadership roles. At Lyft, only 18 percent and 13 percent of its tech staff and leadership respectively are women. There are no black people in tech leadership roles while Latinx leaders make up just 4 percent. Thirty-four percent of tech leaders at Lyft are Asian while the remainder, 59 percent, are white.

In a blog post releasing the inaugural report, Lyft said releasing diversity data will help keep the company accountable.

[W]e have a lot of work to do. Releasing our data will hold us accountable, but it’s the actions we take that will make a difference to the people who come to work every day at Lyft. Our diversity data exposes gaps in important areas. So we’re doing something about it.

The diversity report comes on the heels of Uber’s, which released its numbers following a massive sexual harassment scandal earlier this year. Lyft hasn’t had such a scandal but its numbers, which can be improved all around, suggest that it’s doing much better on gender representation than race and ethnicity.

Tech companies in general, however, have struggled to improve their diversity numbers in spite of releasing transparency reports. For example, Apple has previously called improving diversity “unduly burdensome” and recently shot down a proposal to diversify its all-white board led by CEO Tim Cook. Even Google, which started the diversity report trend in 2014, hasn’t been able to solve its race and gender diversity?—?and retention?—?problems.

Along with the its diversity report, Lyft mentioned its hiring of Tariq Meyers, formerly the company’s community organizer, in 2016 to lead its diversity and inclusion efforts as well as its partnership with the diversity strategy firm Paradigm.

“We’re investing in more programs and taking stronger actions,” the company wrote. “Being a culture of inclusion requires continuous, purposeful work. And it’s work that we must do. Because Lyft is for everyone: no matter who are you, where you come from, or which seat you’re sitting in.”

This article was originally published at ThinkProgress on June 1, 2017. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Lauren Williams is a tech reporter at ThinkProgress.

Apple Store Employees Are Diverse, But Their Silicon Valley Co-Workers Lag Behind

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Lauren WilliamsApple is Silicon Valley’s most diverse tech giant. According to the company’s mint diversity and inclusion report released Wednesday, Apple has been able to significantly increase its number of female and minority employees since 2014.

Women make up 32 percent of Apple’s employees worldwide, up two points from 2014. Apple’s report also boasts that racial and ethnic minorities consisted of 54 percent of new hires in the United States since June 2015. But those boosts largely come from hires in Apple’s retail stores — not tech workers in Cupertino, California.

Racial and gender diversity in retail has jumped since 2014. Seventeen percent of Apple store employees are Hispanic or Latino and 12 percent are black — a 4 point and 2 point increase respectively. Asians have much lower representation in retail stores at 7 percent, but make up 27 percent of the company’s tech employees.

Apple diversity 2016

CREDIT: APPLE

The percentage of white employees is steady at 59 percent, which could indicate that even as Apple continued to grow its retail workforce, diversity was a priority in the hiring process. Women still only make up 32 percent of their retail employees, but that is a slight improvement over two years ago, when they were just 30 percent of their staff.

The retail industry is more inherently diverse than tech industry at large, and Apple’s numbers are on par with that: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women hold 31 percent of jobs in electronic stores, while blacks make up 14 percent, Asians represent 9 percent, and Hispanics hold 19 percent of those jobs. But Apple is also one of the only tech companies with any significant retail presence, meaning their overall diversity numbers benefit in ways that most other Silicon Valley giants do not. Apple employs more than 30,000 retail employees in the U.S., where the company has more than 250 stores, double the number of their next closest competitor Microsoft.

Apple diversity 2016

CREDIT: APPLE

On the tech side, gender diversity has improved by 3 percentage points since 2014, with 23 percent of tech jobs filled by women. The number of Asian workers has ticked up 4 points since 2014, with the number of blacks increasing 2 points. Hispanics in tech saw a marginal increase from 6 percent in 2014 to 7 percent in 2016.

The transformation of Apple’s workforce from a white, male dominated company to one that is more reflective of society as a whole is a slow process, but Apple’s report is heartening. CEO Tim Cook has been outspoken and proactive about the tech industry’s need for diversity of all kinds, including religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. In fact, some of the company’s most visible — and perhaps most laudable — improvements have been in its outward representation.

Apple has been more inclusive during their signature product launches, putting more women and people of color on stage during big events. Apple Music VP and head of global consumer marketing Bozoma Saint John was the highlight at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The native Ghanaian, who joined Apple in 2014, is the brain behind Apple Music’s hit 2015 Emmy awards commercial featuring black entertainers Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson, and Kerry Washington casually singing and dancing to tunes.

Incremental changes, such as increasing recruitment from historically black colleges and universities, are noteworthy. But while Apple can’t change Silicon Valley’s make-up in a year, the company is working to change the face of the brand. Those changes will hopefully reverberate, not only within Apple’s tech sector, but the industry overall.

This post originally appeared at Thinkprogress.org on August 4, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

Lauren C. Williams is the tech reporter for ThinkProgress. She writes about the intersection of technology, culture, civil liberties, and policy. In her past lives, Lauren wrote about health care, crime, and dabbled in politics. She is a native Washingtonian with a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware.

Tech Companies Ordered To Pay Employees $415 Million For Working Together To Lower Wages

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Lauren WilliamsA U.S. District Court finalized a $415 million wage settlement for tech workers Wednesday after four-years of litigation.

Nearly 65,000 employees for Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel filed a class-action antitrust lawsuit in 2011 after the government uncovered emails between Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and other executives that showed companies conspired to not poach one another’s employees in an effort to keep salaries low and reduce turnover.

Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, who signed off on the settlement, tossed out a previous $325 million agreement earlier this year because it was too low. The companies appealed the decision and then submitted a $415 million offer.

The companies will pay out the settlement to 64,466 plaintiffs listing in the suit according to individual worker’s base salaries between 2005 and 2009, the time period covered during the email exchanges.

Koh will lead a final hearing Thursday to close the matter.

This blog was originally posted on Think Progress on September 03, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: The author’s name is Lauren C. Williams. Lauren C. Williams is the tech reporter for ThinkProgress with an affinity for consumer privacy, cybersecurity, tech culture and the intersection of civil liberties and tech policy. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, she wrote about health care policy and regulation for B2B publications, and had a brief stint at The Seattle Times. Lauren is a native Washingtonian and holds a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s of science in dietetics from the University of Delaware.

Apple Store Workers Share Why They Want to ‘Work Different’

Monday, June 27th, 2011

eidelson-headshotOn the day Apple celebrated 10 years since opening its first Apple Store, employee Cory Moll announced a campaign to unionize the company’s 30,000-plus retail employees. Moll sent an e-mail to reporters declaring that “the people of Apple are coming together to “‘work different.’” “The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits,” Moll said.

A Reuters reporter echoed the response of many journalists in calling the union drive “unusual given Apple’s reputation for fierce employee loyalty.” But interviews with workers in three states help explain how and why some of Apple’s employees want to change the company. (All three employees interviewed for this article requested and were provided anonymity based on their fear of retaliation.)

A Bay Area employee described what happened last year when he and about a dozen co-workers realized employees with years of service were being paid less than new hires doing the same work. Agitated about the situation but concerned about retaliation, the workers committed to a plan: during the approaching round of annual one-on-one meetings between workers and managers, they would each ask about pay disparities.

apple_workers-450x286

Supposedly happy and loyal Apple employees help sell things at the Covent Garden Apple Store in London on May 23, 2011.

Those workers who did ask received a consistent response: “Money shouldn’t be an issue when you’re employed at Apple.” Instead, managers said, the chance to work at Apple “should be looked at as an experience.” “You can’t live off of experience,” said the worker interviewed. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Apple has outpaced Tiffany & Co. jewelers in retail sales per square foot.

Employees said that Apple keeps its healthcare costs down by defining even employees working 40 hours a week as part-time if they can’t guarantee open availability (availability to be scheduled to work anytime the store is open). The three workers interviewed said that most employees at each of their stores either work second jobs or go to school, making open availability impossible.

These workers are instead offered Apple’s “part-time” health insurance plan, which costs them much more and the company much less. The Bay Area worker, who works 32 to 40 hours a week, is currently going without medication for a serious health condition because he can’t afford the $120 to $150 a month for the “part time” plan. “$120 a month is what I live on after rent and bills,” he said. All three employees said that the majority of their co-workers were classified as part time.

A Maryland worker said that Apple’s understaffing can make the workload “overwhelming” during high traffic periods and leaves him “singled out” by frustrated customers. He said it “adds tension and makes it a lot more difficult to be effective” as both employees and customers become increasingly stressed.

A New York State worker said that “our demand has outgrown our staffing tremendously,” and that he is yelled at by customers at least once a week. He said the contrast between the lengths Apple goes to satisfy customers and its inflexibility in the face of employees’ needs is “demoralizing.”

The same worker said he has ideas for how to make his store run more effectively, but has no avenue to get them taken seriously given Apple’s “very top-down corporate culture.” In the past year, management made “a very big overhaul” of workers’ schedules and responsibilities at his store. For his co-workers, it meant “less time doing the things they like to do both at work and outside of work”: less time for repairs and more time on the floor; less consistent schedules and more times working a night shift followed by a morning shift hours later.

The change “wreaked havoc” on his personal life and “strained” his relationship with his girlfriend. He calls the new system “a drain emotionally and physically” and resents that he had no voice in it. Though he’s undecided about unionization, he said if it happened, “the biggest benefit” would be “just having a say in these situations.”

All three workers interviewed saw organizing the stores as a daunting task.  The Bay Area worker said he is eager to get involved but most of his co-workers fear punishment for “even talking about a union.” He said that Apple goes out of its way to make employees feel “extremely expendable.” “For a company that has been founded on the ideas of ‘think different’ and innovation,” he said, “their labor practices are anything but.”

The Maryland employee said that although he wants a union, his first reaction on hearing about Moll’s e-mail was, “That guy is going to get fired.” He said after he was hired, a trainer told him “casually” that Apple was against union organizing and that working nonunion was part of the job. The comment was “thrown in there with the sexual harassment training.”

Moll told industry website Inside Apple Store that he has begun working with a “prominent national union” to organize his own store and that he has received e-mails from workers at 100 other stores interested in union representation.

Apple, which has more than 30,000 employees in 325 stores around the world, did not respond to a request for comment.

This blog originally appeared In These Times on June 24, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Josh Eidelson is a freelance writer and a union organizer based in Philadelphia. He’s written about politics as a contributor to Campus Progress, a columnist for the Yale Daily News, and a research fellow for Talking Points Media. His work has appeared online at publications including In These Times, Dissent, Washington Monthly, and Alternet. Check out his blog: http://www.josheidelson.com Twitter: @josheidelson E-mail: jeidelson@gmail.com.

A is for Apple. A is also for Arrogant

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Image: Bob RosnerBloggers Confession: I am wrapped around the little finger of the Apple marketing department. I’m writing this blog on my MacBook, while I listen to tunes on my iPod, my iPhone is nearby and so is my iPad. Wow, I knew I was a junkie, but just writing that sentence made me feel like Steve Jobs personal rentboy.

That said, the recent press conference about the iPhone 4 made me extremely sad. Okay, I realize that Apple is a big corporation. And that public pronouncements by the CEO need to factor in competitors, lawsuits and today’s very fickle consumer. But Jobs sounded more like a Wall Street CEO defending the company’s bonuses than the guy who made the products that currently litter my desk.

Arrogant. Obnoxious. Above making mistakes.

How could a company that is so remarkably in tune with its audience’s hopes and dreams, be so annoying when they know there is a problem with their latest product? I’m not saying that they needed to launch a massive recall. But, I believe, Apple did need to accept some ownership for the reception problems plaguing it’s latest iPhone.

Okay, Jobs has been fighting some serious medical issues that could take him off his game.

And some could argue that Apple has always had an attitude and a tendency toward obsessive secrecy. Remember when that guy found a test phone a few months back?

But I fear that it is something else that’s happening here, market-capitalization-disease. Now that Apple has passed Microsoft in terms of the value of the company in the eyes of stockholders, I fear that Apple believes it’s own press clippings.

Steve, all you had to say was that the company always pushed the boundaries of technology, of style and of what’s possible. We get that. And we would have gotten that this glitch was part of what we all value about Apple the most. But when you went all Nixon on us, well it made me sad.

Your success is due to us. Please don’t insult our intelligence when you overreach. Just admit it and we can all move on.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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