By Jeff Green
American Express Co., T-Mobile US Inc. and nine other companies agreed to provide data on gender and race to the New York City comptroller, capping off a two-year campaign to get the information from the biggest companies the city invests in.The comptroller’s office, along with four of the city’s five pension funds, has persuaded 78 companies to make public for the first time so-called EEO-1 forms, private documents that provide granular detail about the number of Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native and White men and women at every level of a company. The office said that the final 11 companies on its list have agreed to release the data to the public. The four funds control about $221 billion in investments.
“From where we were two years ago, to today, is a remarkable set of progress for transparency and disclosure about race and gender demographic information at America’s largest companies,” said Brad Lander, a Democrat who was elected in November. The initiative began under his predecessor, Scott Stringer. “The long-term goal is to have workplaces that are more diverse at every level.”
As part of the campaign, the comptroller’s office won a proxy vote among shareholders at Union Pacific Corp. and DuPont de Nemours Inc. last year, after which both companies agreed to disclose EEO-1 data for the first time. Lander said he wants federal regulators to compel all U.S. companies to share the otherwise private gender and race data.
The nationwide protests sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020 prompted U.S. companies to pledge to hire more people of color and be more transparent about their efforts to close pay and other equity gaps. Many companies set hiring targets and pledged billions in investments, particularly those to help Black Americans. Releasing the EEO-1 data, which shows that most companies are over-represented by White men in leadership roles, has become one way that companies have agreed to be more transparent.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing new rules around so-called human capital management disclosure, and requiring companies to release the EEO-1 data is a plan the comptroller’s office supports, Lander said. The comptroller most recently suggested the change in a letter to the SEC in June. Lander wouldn’t discuss future investor activism related to EEO-1 disclosure but said the office will continue to look for opportunities to use the city investments to further the progress already made.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been collecting the data since 1966 and compiles it annually into an anonymized, aggregated snapshot of the U.S. labor force. Publicly disclosed EEO-1 forms can be compared with peer industries, overall U.S. data and even geographic breakdowns. The data are the only nationwide, universal set of workforce information that can be tied directly to companies.
In addition to American Express and T-Mobile, the final companies to agree to disclose their data were Anthem Inc., Honeywell International Inc., Illumina Inc., Intuitive Surgical Inc., Raytheon Technologies Corp., Simon Property Group Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Zoetis Inc. A similar Bloomberg News project this month found that 91 of the companies in the S&P 100 either already have released their EEO-1 documents or have agreed to do so soon, many of them for the first time this year. That’s up from 25 in 2020.
The New York City initiative included the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the New York City Fire Pension Fund, the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System, and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System,
The wider release of data now means that employee groups, outside activists, customers and others can analyze the information and hold companies accountable to show progress, Lander said.
“Now there needs to be the kind of work that is engaging with the data as it comes out,” he said. “Just because they are disclosing it, doesn’t mean it’s getting better, or setting goals, or hitting them.”
(Updates with Union Pacific and DuPont proxy votes in fourth paragraph)
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