Before Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicked off this week in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook sat down with Mashable about diversity in the tech industry. And he didn’t have kind things to say, particularly with regard to the lack of women in tech.
“I think it’s our fault—’our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he told the publication. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”
He also suggested that an increase in diversity would translate directly into better hardware and software: “The most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that.”
Various tech-industry figures have pointed fingers at various causes for the tech industry’s perceived lack of diversity. Last year, Google executives cited the education system as the culprit, suggesting that women and minority groups earned only a small portion of the computer-science degrees issued in the United States, in turn limiting the pool of qualified applicants from which tech companies can pull workers.
But some researchers have claimed that tech companies aren’t aggressive enough in recruiting from computer-science departments that produce larger numbers of minority and women graduates. Others have blamed the culture within many tech companies; a sizable percentage of female respondents to a Fortune survey, for example, suggested they left the industry because they found their working environment “overtly or implicitly discriminatory.”
Some companies have moved aggressively to amend their hiring and onboarding practices. Google plans on expanding its hiring programs to more colleges, in addition to making computer-science classes available to more kids. It’s not the only company very publicly committing itself to diversity: Intel, Apple, and others have launched similarly wide-ranging programs. But if Google’s yearly numbers are any indication, any diversification will likely happen very slowly.