DIVERSITY

Gender and Racial Pay Gap

The median income for women working full time in the U.S. is 80% of that of their male counterparts. Even worse, the gaps for African America and Latina women are 60% and 55%.

We are asking companies to:

 

Action:

  • Our shareholder resolutions generally receive strong votes—many have been in the 30-40% range. These include Pfizer, 38%; Cigna, 21%, 31% and 36%; Microsoft, 29.5%; and TJX with 18%. Votes at Alphabet are a bit different as the funders own dual class stock that gives majority control of the vote and generally limits shareholder resolutions to single digit votes. At Alphabet our votes have been 5%, 11%, 12%, 12.7% and 15%. Votes between 11-15% represent about 42-48% of all non-management controlled stock. These votes equal tens of billions of dollars in stock and have helped move this issue forward. Virtually all of the companies we have engaged via resolutions or dialogues have improved their pay equity disclosure.

  • We withdrew our resolutions at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Pfizer when they became two of the seven U.S. companies that agreed to provide median pay gap data (joining Citigroup, MasterCard, Starbucks, Adobe, and Bank of New York Mellon). The median pay gap is the standard used by the IRS, U.S. Department of Labor and the World Economic Forum, and is required of U.K. companies, yet few U.S. companies will provide it. 

  • Our fourth annual Racial and Gender Pay Scorecard, published in collaboration with Arjuna Capital, was released on March 24, Equal Pay Day. We graded 51 of the largest U.S. companies by their pay gap disclosure. Only 5 companies received an “A” while over half got “F”s.

Workplace Diversity

Women make up the majority of the U.S. population, earn the majority of undergraduate and master degrees, and comprise nearly half the work force, yet women account for less than 6% of CEOs and only about 25% of senior management positions. These percentages are virtually the same as in 2000.

We are asking companies to:

  • Increase C-suite diversity and publically release Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data.

  • Set benchmarks for improved recruitment and hiring of women and minorities.

  • Develop mentoring and career development programs for women and minorities.

Action:

  • We filed an Executive Leadership Diversity resolution at Dell Technologies asking it to report on its management team diversity and plans to increase gender, ethnic and racial diversity. We withdrew the resolution after dialogues with senior management and enhanced disclosure on the company’s website that showed the many steps being taken to improve C-suite diversity.

  • Our EEO-1 report resolutions helped move Citrix and Home Depot to provide this basic diversity data that provides shareholders a more complete picture of the company's workforce.

  • Our dialogues with Citrix, Microsoft, and Alphabet have focused on the policies and programs that aim to increase diversity in the workplace, reduce unconscious bias in the hiring of staff, and build mentorship programs for women and minority employees.  

  • All of the above dialogues included discussions of recruitment, retention, and promotion of women and minority employees. The companies have clearly taken many steps to address this issue, but quantitative data is still lacking and so it is difficult to evaluate their effectiveness.

  • Consequently, we are looking to file new diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI) resolutions asking for the process for assessing the effectiveness of DEI programs, and for an assessment of program effectiveness as reflected in any goals, metrics, and trends related to its promotion, recruitment and retention of protected classes of employees. We are currently considering resolutions at Microsoft, Visa and Starbucks.

Board Diversity

Research shows that companies with a higher number of women on their boards outperform those with fewer or no women. Yet women hold only 20% of the board seats at the 1000 largest U.S. public companies while smaller and newer companies are even less diverse. 

 

We are asking companies to:

  • Have a minimum of 30% female board members.

  • Embed board gender and racial diversity in their Charters and/or Governance Principles. 

  • Include women and minority candidates in every pool from which board nominees are chosen.

  • Expand director searches to include nominees from both corporate positions and non-traditional environments including government, academia and non-profit organizations.

 

Action:

  • We withdrew our resolution at Bristol Meyers-Squibb when it agreed to add a female board member. Citrix made a similar commitment to us during ongoing dialogues on workplace diversity. 

  • Humana and Praxair responded to shareholder letters by agreeing to add a female board member. Skywork Solutions did not respond. 

  • We withdrew our resolution at Digital Realty when they agreed to include a commitment to board diversity in their charter and the inclusion of women in all director searches. We requested that the Digital Realty board be expanded to allow for more women to be added sooner.