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article imageApple and Amazon won't reveal federal diversity filings

By Jenna Cyprus     Dec 23, 2014 in Business
The Equal Employment Opportunity survey known as EEO-1 allows companies to report employees' race self-identification data to the federal government.
This document can provide some intriguing insights into a company's commitment to diversity through hiring and retention practices. The survey provides the government with a snapshot of the ethnic composition of a workforce. While both Amazon and Apple have released their workforce demographics reports, they are withholding their EEO-1 filings from public view. Other companies, like Facebook and LinkedIn, have taken a more transparent approach by making their EEO-1 information public.
Increased Awareness and Concerns
Low levels of women and minorities in the tech industry have been a hot topic throughout 2014, as companies and CEOs have publicly conceded to the need for improvement. According to Professor Joan Williams in the Harvard Business Review, changing cultural factors in the tech industry might be necessary before progress can be made. "A key feature of the tech culture—the shared belief that it’s a meritocracy—may work against change," she writes. This idea is particularly alarming when you factor in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's statements at a women's computing event. "It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along," said Nadella. This advice was quickly met with a lash back online, as many professionals noted how trusting the system doesn't necessarily result in closing pay gaps or increasing representation for women and minorities.
The Companies' Own Diversity Reports
Apple has a webpage dedicated to its own in-house employee demographic metrics, along with a statement from Tim Cook. He writes, "As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page. They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them." According to the figures posted, Apple's workforce is comprised of 55 percent white, 15 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent black employees as of June 2014. However, it's unknown why Apple has refused to publicly disclose its EEO-1 report.
Amazon has also published its own in-house employee demographics online, highlighting smaller team efforts to raise the visibility of minority women in the workplace. For example, the company highlights Amazon Women in Engineering, a group that hosts Seattle STEMOut! events for women exploring careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. According to Amazon's own published metrics, their overall workforce is comprised of 60 percent white, 15 percent Black, 13 percent Asian, and 9 percent Hispanic employees. It is interesting to note that white representation leaps up to 71 percent in the management category.
Companies That Do Have Public EEO-1 Reports
Several tech companies have stepped forward to publish their EEO-1 survey findings. Intel posts its workforce demographics online each year, and their EEO reports are published directly on their website. Both Ingram Micro and Dell also released this documentation to CNN when it was requested by the publication. While Microsoft has yet to publish their EEO-1 report, they have promised to do so in a shareholders meeting discussion with Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Social media companies don't seem to hesitate when it comes to diversity transparency. Facebook's full EEO-1 report was published along with a blog post titled, "Building a More Diverse Facebook." The Facebook newsroom article acknowledges, "As these numbers show, we have more work to do – a lot more. But the good news is that we’ve begun to make progress." Twitter released their federal report back in July 2014. LinkedIn also released their diversity numbers over the summer, announcing the figures with a blog post. They echo Facebook's sentiments, writing, "in terms of overall diversity, we have some work to do."
USA Today reports that both Amazon and Apple have yet to release official comments regarding the decision to not make the EEO-1 report public. This lack of transparency raises many questions regarding the workforce demographics of these companies and their motivations to keep the federal filing under wraps, even though they have already published their own metrics. As other companies begin to publish their federal survey results, workforce diversity advocacy groups and activists are drawing greater attention to companies that decline to make these numbers public.
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