This year, we tracked, analyzed, and ranked 922 companies from the Russell 1000 across five stakeholder groups, including Workers, Customers, Communities, the Environment, and Shareholders. We covered 29 Issues — like whether companies pay a living wage or protect the environment — and over 400 data points, from paid parental leave to veteran hiring to supplier policies.
We do this because we believe that independent and unbiased data, tools, and insights can drive accountability and incentivize action. Our Rankings can drive investors to the JUST ETF, consumers to support just companies, and workers to seek employment where they will be treated well.
The insights we uncover are invaluable. While some are consistent with previous years — like the fact that tech companies continue to dominate the top 10 of the JUST 100 — there are always a few new trends that come to light.
Here are five of the more interesting takeaways from our 2020 Rankings.
Striking Takeaway #1: Many companies are disclosing diversity & inclusion policies and targets for the first time.
This year, 59 companies disclosed their diversity & inclusion policies for the first time – about 8% of the total number of companies that did so this year. Forty-five companies disclosed diversity & inclusion targets – goals for increasing or improving their workplace diversity – for the first time, or about 43% of those that did so.
These upticks suggest a growing focus on practices, policies, and targets around diversity, equity, and inclusion – an essential measure of just business behavior, according to the American public. This year, we also began tracking the number of companies that provide a diverse supplier policy and found that 42% of companies do, indicating an institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion outside their immediate workforce.
Also this year, we found that only 4% of companies released their EEO-1 Survey – which includes details about their workforce’s demographics based on occupation, gender, and ethnicity – suggesting that there’s still room for improvement in building transparency around workforce diversity.
Striking Takeaway #2: More companies are conducting pay equity analyses.
Our research shows that when companies prioritize transparency around pay equity, it can be a win-win for both employees and shareholders. But beyond the business case, performing a pay equity analysis and disclosing high-level results is an essential first step to addressing the persistent gender pay gap in the U.S. today.
This year, 22% of companies disclosed conducting a pay equity analysis in 2019, vs 14% that did so last year. Of the companies that disclosed this in 2019, 42% (or 86 companies) did not disclose conducting a pay equity analysis in 2018, showing a growing movement within corporate America to address the pay gap between men and women.
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Striking Takeaway #3: More companies are supporting working families through paid leave to new parents.
This year, 41% of companies reported providing new parents with paid parental leave, and of these, 24% (or 90 companies) did not disclose parental leave last year.
We’re seeing that companies are increasingly prioritizing work-life balance for working parents, though there’s still room for improvement: In 2019, just 12% of companies that offered parental leave provided the same amount of leave for parents of either gender – something that recent studies have shown is essential to the support of working families.
Striking Takeaway #4: Overall, companies place a high value on providing educational opportunities for their workforce, with nearly half also contributing to education in their local communities.
Providing opportunities for advancement, skills development, and educational
attainment is key for keeping employees satisfied and engaged. So it’s not
surprising that in recent years, more companies are investing in their workers by
offering tuition reimbursement and other education assistance programs.
This year, 75% of companies we rank offered tuition reimbursement to their
employees to help reduce the costs of higher education. Of those companies, 16% (or 107 companies) did not disclose a tuition reimbursement policy in 2018. Similarly, 77% of companies disclosed a career development policy, 12% (or 86 companies) of which did not disclose a career development policy in 2018.
Expanding educational opportunities beyond the office walls is also essential, not only for the betterment of individuals, but in order to train and expand the qualifications of the local workforce and increase hiring from within the local community. This year, 47% percent of companies disclosed giving to educational programs in the form of contributions to community colleges, high schools, after-school educational programs, and scholarships for students who are not related to employees.
Striking Takeaway #5: Few companies have strict consumer data protections, suggesting that companies overall have a long way to go when it comes to customer privacy.
Privacy has consistently been one of the areas that Americans want companies to prioritize, according to our annual survey. To reflect the salience of this issue in the 21st century, we’ve greatly expanded the metrics we use to evaluate whether the companies we rank protect customer privacy.
This year, 22% of companies state they do not sell the personal data they collect to third parties. Only 5% of companies state they do not use the personal data they collect for advertising or marketing purposes, showing that corporate America clearly needs to do more to protect the privacy of its customers.
As privacy continues to be top of mind for the American public, we’ll continue to track and analyze performance on this important issue.
Check Out the Full 2020 Rankings!
To learn more about how the largest public U.S. companies measure up when it comes to serving their stakeholders and creating an economy that works for all Americans, explore this year’s full Rankings.
And to stay up to date on all the latest moves companies are making to prioritize workers, customers, the environment, and more, sign up for our free weekly newsletter, The JUST Report, today!