Workforce Diversity Data Disclosure | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance

Workforce Trends

With diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority for many organizations, internal and external stakeholders of these firms are increasingly looking for signs of meaningful progress in DEI efforts. And although many firms have evolved their DEI initiatives from diversity to encompass inclusion and equity, disclosing workforce demographics is still a fundamental component of DEI. This article addresses if and how firms in the Russell 1000 have been sharing data around their workforce and board demographics. A few findings include: 1) As of September 2021, a slim majority of companies in the Russell 1000 (55%) disclose some type of racial and ethnic workforce data. However, this number shows a notable increase since January 2021, when only 32% of companies disclosed racial and ethnic data. 2) The disclosure of racial and ethnic workforce data is highly unstandardized. Some companies follow the U.S. Census Bureau’s groupings, which include five baseline racial identities (White; Black or African American; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander) and two ethnic identities (Hispanic or Latino; or Not Hispanic or Latino). Others either further disaggregate or aggregate these groupings. 3) Companies in the Utilities industry are the most likely to disclose some racial and ethnic workforce data, with 82% (31 companies) in that industry sharing one of the three disclosure types. The article includes other insights, including a table showing which companies in its study have publicly reported their EEO-1 Report; a link to each of these firms’ reports is provided. As stakeholders expect greater transparency in workforce demographics data, firms can use these insights to guide their efforts.

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