It’s well-documented that the C-suites and boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies are overwhelmingly white and male. What’s less clear is the makeup of the 28 million employees who work for them.
It’s worth pointing out that the case has already been made for diversity improving the bottom line.
Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have returns above national industry medians, SAP chief diversity and inclusion officer Anka Wittenburg wrote in a piece for Fortune, quoting a McKinsey study. She also pointed to a study from Bersin by Deloitte that found over a 3-year period, diverse companies see 2.3 times the cash flow per employee when compared to their less diverse peers.
Twelve of this year’s Fortune 500 companies appeared on last year’s 50 Best Workplace For Diversity list, which relies heavily on the outcome of 450,000 employee surveys in its methodology. That means women, minorities, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community rated their employers favorably when asked about representation, favoritism, feeling included and morale.
It does not mean, however, that all of those companies are transparent about their workforce demographics. In fact, none of the 10 Fortune 500 companies that were honored on the diversity list have fully disclosed their EEO-1 data.
Here are the top line statistics from the Fortune data team’s investigation into transparency among Fortune 500 transparency on diversity and inclusion. This is an ongoing data collection project and Fortune welcomes EEO-1 data from any company that’s willing to share it. Submissions should be sent to here.
These firms not only have the influence of industry leaders to set norms and expectations, they’re also directly responsible for hiring a significant portion of Americans. Fortune 500 companies employ 17.5% of the total U.S. workforce. Walmart alone, which has been at the top of the Fortune 500 list since 2013, employs 1% of all American workers.
Out of this year’s Fortune 500 list, 400 companies share no data about the gender or ethnicity of their employees. Though most firms have pages proclaiming the importance of diversity to their culture and success, only one out of every five companies provides any information to show that they’re measuring their progress.
Only 3.2% of companies on the Fortune 500 list release complete data for the race and gender of their employees in each job category and management level. In this case, Fortune considered a public release of an EEO-1 form, or the data that appears on it, to represent complete data.
Every company on the list must collect and submit this data to the Department of Labor annually, but just 16 companies on the list make these numbers public. Another 84 companies publish partial information, many reporting the percentage of women or nonwhite workers and others sharing only the demographics of their leadership.
3 out of 4
The vast majority of companies on the list that report their full diversity numbers are in the tech sector. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple have released reports on the demographics of their workforce in recent years, so it may be unsurprising that 75% of Fortune 500 firms publishing their numbers are in the tech space.
Editors note: Due to a miscalculation, this post previously said that 12 of the 2017 Fortune 500 companies were named on the 50 Best Places To Work For Diversity list.