- The share of Russell 1000 companies that report racial and ethnic data about their workforce surged to 55% in September, a 23% jump from the start of last year, JUST Capital said in a study.
- The proportion of the companies that released an EEO-1 report or intersectional data — “the gold standard for demographic data reporting” — rose to 11% in September 2021 from 4% in September 2020, JUST Capital said. Private sector employers with more than 100 workers must annually file with the federal government an EEO-1 report on the number of employees by gender, race and ethnicity.
- “Key stakeholders, including the American public, have sent a clear message about the importance of demographic data transparency to companies — and they’re listening,” JUST Capital said. “Disclosing workforce and board demographics is an important step for companies to jumpstart or even refine their DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] initiatives.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shareholders, lawmakers and officials overseeing public pension plans are pressuring companies to release demographic data on their employees and boards and set a baseline for assessing progress on increasing diversity.
A disclosure regime could include details on benefits, demographics, skills and development training, and health and safety, according to SEC Chair Gary Gensler. The SEC in June listed “human capital management disclosure” on a list of potential rulemaking.
“I think that investing in a company, the human capital, the workforce is a key asset,” Gensler said in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee in September. “I’ve always found that if you’re going to buy a company or sell a company — when I was doing that at Goldman Sachs — that people really wanted to have a thorough review of that workforce and its ups and downs.”
Since former New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in July 2020 called on companies to publicly disclose their EEO-1 demographic data, more than 30 Standard & Poor’s 100 companies have agreed to do so, JUST Capital said. The city’s comptroller oversees $248 billion in pension plans.
“Despite how critical it is in assessing representation, the disclosure of racial and ethnic workforce data is highly unstandardized among companies in the Russell 1000,” JUST Capital said.
Some companies follow U.S. Census Bureau categories, while others combine or disaggregate these groupings, JUST Capital said.
A majority of Russell 1000 companies in every major industry but materials and technology release some type of workforce race and ethnicity data, JUST Capital said.
“There is much room for improvement in both standardization and disclosure,” the organization said.
While releasing more workforce data, some U.S. businesses have increased support for diversity and inclusion training and related programs since the murder of George Floyd while in police custody in May 2020.
Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs at many of the largest U.S. companies, pledged in October 2020 to regularly review pay equity and provide more information about the racial diversity of company leadership and staff. Business Roundtable companies generate more than $9 trillion in annual revenues and employ 20 million workers.
“Almost universally, companies cited that they are continuing to build capabilities to use quantitative metrics to effectively measure and communicate about their progress toward reaching their commitments,” Business Roundtable said in a progress report in November.
“For most members, the size and scale of their high-impact commitments (e.g., strategic investments, restructuring parts of their business to be more equity-focused) will take significant time to come to fruition, and so do not generate immediate measurable outcomes,” the organization said.
More than 100 member companies joined a Business Roundtable pledge in June 2021 and agreed to disclose diversity metrics.