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Just Capital Highlights 100 Companies Advancing Racial Equity, Opportunity for Workers and Communities

Companies cannot afford to ignore racial equity or neglect cultivating inclusive opportunity and mobility; their shareholders, employees, communities and customers are all paying attention to how they bring their commitments to life through action.

Just Capital’s just-released 2022 Workforce Equity and Mobility Ranking identifies and assesses the top 100 companies in the Russell 1000 that perform best on key disclosure and performance metrics that advance racial equity and opportunity for their workers and communities.

The last few years have laid bare stark economic inequalities and racial injustices across the US and their impact on the country’s workforce. JUST Capital’s polling of the US public shows that a majority, across demographics, are continuing to look to companies to take action to address income inequality, create good jobs and advance racial equity.

The 2022 Workforce Equity and Mobility Ranking, developed with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, highlights the companies that are leading on these interconnected issues. This new ranking looks at which companies are disclosing key data points and performance metrics that show how they’re taking concrete action to foster career opportunities and development, as well as improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, particularly for young workers of color.

The companies featured in the 2022 Workforce Equity and Mobility Ranking are setting clear DEI targets, adopting inclusive hiring practices, and prioritizing career development. They recognize that these efforts are not just about creating and filling any job, but about providing access to jobs that offer opportunities for growth, fair pay, robust benefits and the flexibility and support needed to manage work-life balance. Members of historically excluded groups — particularly, people of color — are overrepresented in frontline hourly positions, which do not always offer pathways to advancement and lack most of the elements listed above. Building these pathways and increasing representation across and within industries is imperative to ensure good jobs are within reach for those frequently disconnected from career mobility.

Compared with other companies in the Russell 1000, the top 100 performers in the Workforce Equity and Mobility Ranking:

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    Were 2.4x more likely to disclose that they offered an apprenticeship program to employees (53 percent compared to 22 percent).

  • Were 4.6x more likely to disclose a DEI target (62 percent compared to 13 percent).

  • Offered, on average, 13 more hours in training or career development per employee (32 hours compared to 19 hours).

  • Were 7.3x more likely to disclose that they had a re-entry program (12 percent compared to 1.6 percent).

  • Were 8.2x more likely to have conducted a race/ethnicity pay gap analysis (68 percent compared to 8 percent).

  • Offered, on average, 1.7 more weeks of parental leave for primary caregivers (12 weeks compared to 10.3 weeks).

  • Offered, on average, 1.8 more weeks of parental leave for secondary caregivers (8.5 weeks compared to 6.7 weeks).

The ranking highlights some of the policies that companies can enact to advance racial equity, and opportunities for their employees and, by extension, within society at large. Key findings include:

  1. Explicit commitments to equity are only a first step for leadership on equity and mobility.
  2. From this foundational first step, current company leaders on these issues take multiple pathways to advance equity and mobility.
  3. All of the US’s largest publicly traded companies have room to improve in advancing equity, opportunity and mobility.
  4. Going forward, these companies cannot afford to ignore these issues.

The first and essential step for any company is to center equity in its policies and practices, rather than siloing it in a DEI team. From that starting point, this ranking shows that companies can pursue multiple pathways to advance racial equity, opportunity and mobility more broadly. The leaders of the ranking outperform their peers, and one another, on multiple different metrics rather than neatly aligning on a central set of policies and practices. One path is to focus on workforce career development, while another prioritizes the provision of necessary benefits (e.g. paid family leave) and workers’ work-life balance. Yet another path is to pay employees fairly and provide opportunities for advancement, such as apprenticeship training.

While each of these paths advances equity, opportunity and mobility, companies can pursue an array of different approaches to improve their performance. All companies, including those leading the ranking, have areas that require further investment; and each company must continue to ensure that its policies are carried out in practice and lead to meaningful progress across the organization rather than serving as signaling. In fact, due to the relative lack of performance-related disclosure on issues central to inclusive workforce mobility, the metrics included in this ranking provide a useful signal of companies’ intentions — but cannot guarantee their fulsome implementation across an organization.

For example, in recent weeks one company that ranked highly has been in the news regarding discrepancies between corporate policies and actual practice, particularly reports of fake job interviews with people of color for positions that had already been filled to boost diversity statistics on paper. This instance serves as a potent reminder that commitments to equitable career development must become integrated within company culture, with their implementation understood as the responsibility of leaders and employees alike, in order for companies to follow through on their policies and values meaningfully.

Companies cannot afford to ignore racial equity or neglect cultivating inclusive opportunity and mobility. Taking concrete actions to advance opportunities for historically excluded groups such as young workers of color is an essential business practice that supports recruitment, retention and internal mobility, and taps into the talent and potential these groups bring to the workforce. Our current moment, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, deepened through the revitalized racial equity movement, and extended with recent demands for worker advocacy and dignity, demands corporate action and transparency. Companies must consider that their shareholders, employees, communities and customers are all paying attention to how they bring their commitments to life through action.

Sustainable Brands Corporate Members that made the 2022 Workforce Equity and Mobility Ranking:

  • Mastercard (Equity & Mobility ranking 2/overall Just Capital ranking 13)

  • Microsoft (3/3)

  • PepsiCo (18/12)

  • Visa (22/26)

  • Ford (32/20)

  • Eastman (33/97)

  • IBM (39/19)

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (47/75)

  • Hershey (49/84)

  • 3M (92/203)

  • Target (98/100).

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