CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella may have put his foot in his mouth during his appearance at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, when he advised women to “trust karma” rather than ask for a raise. His remarks taken in a vacuum seem naive at best, but when compared to the tone-deaf approach at which the tech industry was moving in regards to gender and diversity, they fit right in. While much of the tech industry is under a long overdue microscope when it comes to the discussion of gender and diversity, changes to the status quo do not come overnight. Many of the tech companies that grace headlines these days when it comes to topics of diversity have been slowly rotating the ship wheel to correct previous course trends.
Calvert, an investment firm, has released an update to their previous report titled, “Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling: A Survey of Corporate Diversity Practices of the S&P 100.” The Calvert report written in 2012, and was intended to highlight improvements in the representation of women and minorities in leadership positions among the top 100 companies that are listed in the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) financial rankings. In their examination and subsequent update, Calvert found that Microsoft ranked as one of the highest companies when it comes to diversity. Microsoft finds itself tied for first place with Citigroup, Dow Chemical, Target, Merck, Pepsico, Lockheed Martin Eli Lilly, Wells Fargo, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Calvert does note, however, that companies who rank high in diversity do not necessarily rank high in the other key assessments. In other words, there is always room to improve for the top ranked companies. In the detailed report, Calvert explains how they arrived at their evaluations.
“Using a 10-point system, Calvert assigns point values to companies based on their performance on ten diversity indicators. These indicators encompass diversity policies, initiatives, performance, and disclosure. This allows us to quantify the degree to which each company demonstrates best practices across all ten indicator
Much of the information gathered by Calvert was generated using mostly publicly available knowledge. Calvert reviewed sources like SEC filings, sustainability reports, and outside publications to chart its evaluations.”
While Microsoft does have Satya Nadella representing some diversity in its highest ranking position, it, and many other companies still have a lot of work ahead of them. “Over the past two years, we have seen only minimal progress in the number of women and minorities advancing to the executive ranks of S&P 100 companies. In fact, nearly half (44%) of the largest corporations in the United States still do not have any women or minorities in their ﬁve highest-paid positions. While women made up 21% of S&P 100 board director positions, they held only about 9% of those companies’ highest paid positions in 2014. The percentage of minorities in the highest paid positions was even lower, at 8%,” claims the report.
With the Calvert report updated, Microsoft sits with a final ranking score of 95/100. Other notables are Coco-Cola and HP with a 90, Google, McDonalds and Walt Disney Co at 85, and Facebook and Apple both trailing with a score of 55.