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Urged to back up pledges for racial justice, 34 major firms commit to disclose government workforce data

The move follows a shareholder’s letters to 67 companies to offer more transparency

Scott Stringer, New York City's comptroller, has pushed major companies to make diversity data on their hiring and promotion practices public. More than 30 major companies said this week they would release the data by next year. (Frank Franklin II/Pool/AP)

More than 30 major companies — including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, General Motors and Target — have agreed to publicly share their government diversity reports by early next year.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who advises the city’s public retirement funds, said Monday that 34 companies — some of which had refused to release the same reports as recently as last year — would disclose their full data by March 2021.

A few of the 34 companies — including Target, BlackRock, AbbVie, Verizon and Chevron — have begun releasing their full reports.

BlackRock’s report shows that in 2019, four of its 103 executive or senior-level employees (3.9 percent) were Black. BlackRock said in a statement that the firm has “made strides” but “we acknowledge significant work remains ahead to realize sustainable change, and the disclosure of our EEO-1 data is an important step towards greater transparency and accountability.”

Target’s release, meanwhile, showed that 40 of its 777 executive or senior-level employees were Black (5.1 percent) and 50 were Hispanic or Latino (6.4 percent). In a statement, Target called being more transparent about their data “the next step in our journey to build an organization that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive.”

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The announcement follows a campaign Stringer launched in July, as corporate America rushed to respond to protests spotlighting police brutality against Black Americans with promises to improve diversity. His office sent letters to 67 major firms that issued statements, urging them to “walk the walk and publicly disclose” their workforce demographics by Aug. 30 or risk being targeted with shareholder proposals next year.

The federal EEO-1 report is the “gold standard” for diversity disclosure, Stringer’s announcement said. The form gives a breakdown of companies’ race and gender across 10 job categories, and companies with 100 or more employees as well as some federal contractors are required to submit it to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Companies know there is growing investor interest in workplace diversity, particularly given the public outcry over racial justice and the lack of representation in corporate America,” Stringer said in an emailed statement. “Investors need this data so we can assess company performance and hold them accountable.”

Wall Street says it cares about diversity. But most big banks won’t share complete workforce data.

Last year, The Washington Post asked the 15 largest U.S. banks to share their full EEO-1 reports, and only two either released their full report or had already done so. Several of the banks that refused to release their full report last year — including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, which came under fire recently when its CEO, Charles Scharf, suggested in a memo there was a “limited pool of black talent to recruit from” — are now promising to do so. Scharf later apologized for “making an insensitive comment reflecting my own unconscious bias.”

A Wells Fargo spokesman said it published two reports in August that provided “a deeper level of detail” in advance of disclosing the full EEO-1 report next year.

Goldman Sachs said in an email that being transparent and releasing the full EEO-1 report “will help us to continue to hold ourselves accountable for advancing diversity in our workforce” but declined to comment on why it is making the commitment now but would not last year. The bank has reported percentages in the past. U.S. Bancorp confirmed it would release its report in the spring but declined to offer further comment.

According to Stringer’s announcement, 29 public companies, just 14 of which are in the S&P 100, currently disclose their consolidated EEO-1 report. The additional 34 companies are committing to disclosing the report itself or identical raw data, not merely percentages, said Amy Varghese, a spokeswoman in Stringer’s office.

Raw data, Stringer’s announcement said, offers “standardized, quantitative, relevant and comparable employment data across companies and industries,” and that “disclosing only percentage representations prohibits meaningful, year-over-year comparisons.”

In 2018, a report by Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, surveyed 211 Silicon Valley tech companies, and just 26 either sent the reports to Reveal or had previously published them.

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