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More than half of America’s largest companies are falling short on diversity

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More than half of America’s largest publicly traded companies released their diversity reports this week, including plans to improve their gender and race statistics, take part in new recruiting practices, or reduce opportunities for their own workers to exclude others, according to a report released by the Women’s Venture Capital Network, a group of philanthropic equity investors that aim to support women-led businesses.

Business leaders will spend billions on growing opportunities for women and minorities.

The report surveyed executives from publicly traded companies with at least $1 billion in assets and more than 1,000 employees, and found that more than half of them have targets of increasing racial and gender diversity. But many of them are falling short of the expectations.

Among the top 100 companies with the most employees in the United States and a higher national market cap, 78 of them say they do not intend to hire more black or Asian employees within the next five years; 60 stated the same about black or Hispanic Americans in that same time frame; and 42 companies said they do not plan to add female or minority employees within five years.

(Such companies include Apple, Blackberry, Cisco, HP and P&G.)

Black CEO Stephanie Nagel of Digital Export Inc., who is also a member of Women’s Venture Capital Network’s board, said the companies are missing a chance to do right by investors. “Today, women of color and LGBT individuals have millions of dollars of capital available to them through our company funds and our philanthropic grants,” she said. “Pushing companies to achieve diversity in leadership and the way they operate at every level, allows our impact to be multiplied in the long term, and that’s for the right reasons.”

Another goal set for the top 100 companies is to lower the ratio of white men and women in leadership positions. That figure may be as high as 72.5% for those surveyed, and one in five leaders of men is not black or Hispanic. A separate group of companies fared even worse. Only 47% of those surveyed said that they would reduce their own percentage of people who do not identify as white to minority within the next five years.

“At the end of the day, companies with a diverse workforce on their leadership team are better able to identify opportunities to attract talent from the broadest possible network of individuals, more likely to build relationships with diverse talent, and also have a more deeply respected workforce,” Nagel said.

Related

‘Blacks don’t buy into the straight-A brand message,’ said Dr. Angela Ahrendts. Women of color have been hit hardest by economic inequality, the study suggests.

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