Efforts by Apple to improve recruitment of women and minorities in its workforce are slowly paying off, the company has revealed, as it hopes other corporations will follow its lead in diversity and transparency.
The company is planning to release its next diversity report this summer, but before then, human resources chief Denise Young Smith spoke with Fortune about the progress the company has made. She revealed that about 35 percent of Apple's recruits are currently women, and that hiring of African-Americans and Hispanics has increased.
In comparison, a year ago, Apple's overall employee base was 70 percent male, 30 percent female, revealing that new recruiting efforts are beginning to tip the balance slightly.
The progress comes a year after Apple pledged to give more details on the diversity of its workforce. The company's current workforce is overwhelmingly male and white — Â something that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said must be improved.
"All around the world, our team at Apple is united in the belief that being different makes us better," Cook wrote in a letter to employees last year. "We know that each generation has a responsibility to build upon the gains of the past, expanding the rights and freedoms we enjoy to the many who are still striving for justice."
The company has also backed those efforts financially, investing more than $50 million into a number of nonprofit organizations intended to increase the presence of women, minorities and veterans working in the technology industry. Among the organizations supported are the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the National Center for Women and Information Technology.
Smith previously served as Apple's VP of Global Retail Stores, but she began working in retail as the company began its storefront efforts in 2000, when she was recruited to head retail human resources.