The JUST Report: Making Worker Financial Wellness a C-Suite Priority


This past year, JUST Capital and Harris Poll have surveyed more than 17,000 Americans, and one thing that’s clear, even in the midst of a pandemic, is that “Pays workers a fair, livable wage,” continues to be the single most important stakeholder issue, across all demographics. We also found that over 90% of respondents believe large companies should create an economy that serves all stakeholders, 87% believe they can shape the future course of business through their collective actions, and 80% believe that companies can be a force for positive societal change. (Click here to view and download our latest annual survey report.)

That’s why this week we were proud to launch in partnership with PayPal and the support of the Financial Health Network and the Good Jobs Institute one of our most ambitious projects yet: the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative.

It’s a project that draws from each organization’s expertise to craft a methodology and suite of tools and resources that will help companies to assess the financial health of their lowest paid workers, to ensure none of them are struggling to get by. It’s not simply the morally right or, as our polls showed, the popular thing to do – we are also producing research showing that investing in workers is a strategic investment to your bottom line, and a down payment on future growth. When you have a financially stable workforce, you have an engaged and productive one, and both customers and shareholders will benefit.

All that and we’ve still got our biggest project of the year coming up next week, the 2021 Rankings of America’s Most JUST Companies. Make sure you register for our Forbes JUST 100 Virtual Summit where you’ll hear from the likes of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Merck CEO Ken Frazier, and many more on how they used a stakeholder lens for navigating one of the most difficult years they’ve ever had as business leaders. There will be a lot to unpack, and you won’t want to miss it.

Be well,
Martin Whittaker

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

The Business Roundtable issues a statement warning that failure to reach a deal on additional economic stimulus would “worsen and prolong the crisis for our country.”

Exxon Mobil faces criticism after leaked documents of internal projections expose plans to increase annual carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as the output of the entire nation of Greece.

JPMorgan Chase announces a major $30 billion investment to fight the racial wealth gap as well as a new financing commitment aligned with the Paris Agreement to help clients capitalize on a low-carbon economy.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wants to see increased focus on internet safety in social media and encourages players to do a better job at self-regulation and expect more regulatory scrutiny.

JUST Events

Wednesday, October 14 from 4PM to 6PM ET
Please be sure to RSVP for what’s shaping up to be an amazing Forbes JUST 100 Virtual Summit with MasterCard vice chair Ann Cairns, General Catalyst chairman Ken Chenault, Merck CEO Ken Frazier, JUST board members Paul Tudor Jones and Andrea Jung, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Grammy award-winning artist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams, and more!

Wednesday, October 28th at 2PM to 3PM ET
How to Make Worker Financial Wellness a C-Suite Priority
Learn more about why investing in workers improves key business outcomes such as productivity, customer service, and employee turnover. Join our webinar here. Participants will hear directly from PayPal about the actions they took after learning that nearly two-thirds of their hourly and entry-level employees were running out of money between paychecks.

What’s Happening at JUST

As the 2020 election approaches, we asked Americans what role they think corporate America should play in upholding and protecting democracy. Hear what they said here, and check out coverage in Politico, as well as an editorial from Alison Omens in Forbes.

Insights from our 2020 Survey Report – Amidst Crisis, What Americans Want from Corporate America – were featured in Business InsiderForbesTriple Pundit, and a curated LinkedIn newsletter. And Schroders showcased our BRT analysis in “COVID-19 and stakeholder capitalism: actions speak louder than words.”

Martin spoke with Halla Tomasdottir and Jay Coen Gilbert of Imperative 21 on LinkedIn Live, for a conversation on why now is the right time for capitalism to reset.

Must-Reads of the Week

Providing further urgency to the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative, Quartz reveals that 44% of low income Americans are dipping into their retirement accounts to pay bills during the pandemicCNN estimates that the pandemic has eliminated 4 million jobs forever.

Bloomberg compares what S&P 100 companies pledged versus how they’ve acted when it comes to racial equity and brings the data to life with interactive infographics.

Bloomberg also reports Microsoft and Wells Fargo, which have both pledged to double their ranks of Black leaders, received letters from the U.S. Labor Department asking how their efforts comply with laws limiting the consideration of race in employment.

The Wall Street Journal creates a great primer on the myths of ESG investing. and chronicles a recent Labor Department regulation that would make it much harder for investors to incorporate ESG funds into their 401(k)s.

Chart of the Week

For our latest Chart of the Week, we’re lifting up our 2020 Issues chart from the 2020 Survey Report showcasing what Americans want corporate America to prioritize today. “Pays workers a fair, livable wage” was the single most important stakeholder issue in this year’s survey, and all five Worker issues – regarding pay, training, health, equity, and benefits – are among the top seven priorities of the public.

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!