A culture of workplace diversity ensures that performance and qualifications, rather than membership in a preferred demographic, dictate ascension up the corporate ladder, but also that a broad array of ideas and backgrounds are used to move a company forward. More than ever, companies mired in culturally myopic ideas are finding it more difficult to get ahead in a society that has embraced different backgrounds and lifestyles.

Key Takeaways

  • Workplace diversity has become popular criteria among job searchers, so much so that many groups have researched how companies rank in this area.
  • Some companies excel with workplace diversity and inclusion, offering equal opportunities for minorities and the likes, while others need work.
  • Among those excelling are Stryker, Cisco, and Accenture.

For forward-thinking job seekers looking for somewhere to launch a career, workplace diversity is as important a consideration as many of the typical criteria used to compare career opportunities such as pay, benefits, flexibility, and upward mobility. Because more prospective employees than ever are assigning paramount importance to workplace diversity, think tanks and research groups have conducted extensive studies to determine which of the economy's largest employers excel in this area and which are lagging behind.

As of 2020, the following are some of the companies best known for embracing workplace diversity, as well as a few that still have work to do.

The Best: Stryker Corporation

A comprehensive analysis by Great Place to Work based on the inclusive cultures, surveys of employees, and the effectiveness of leaders gave Stryker Corporation (SYK) the no. 1 spot.

The medical supply company has over 18,000 employees and was only ranked no. 40 in 2018. The company has 35% of its workforce as women and 34% of women as front-line managers. What's more, the company has 27% of its executives as women. Eighteen percent of its front-line managers are minorities as well.

The Best: Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems (CSCO) ranks second on the Great Place to Work's list. Several years ago Cisco launched its Diverse Representation Framework (DRF), a system that provides data to help managers find talent in the markets where they do business. According to Fran Katsoudas, Chief People Officer at Cisco, "This framework is a game-changer for us in identifying and attracting the best talent.”

The company has nearly 40,000 employees and ranked at no. 7 in 2018 on the list. Forty-eight percent of the company is made up of minorities, with 38% of front-line managers being minorities. Twenty-eight percent of the company is made up of women.

The Best: Accenture PLC

Accenture (ACN), with female CEO Julie Sweet, ranks fourth. Sweet has been CEO since 2019. The company employees over 50,000 people and ranked in the 41st in 2018.

Over 50% of the companies employees are minorities and over 40% of executives are minorities. As well, 37% of the company is made up of women and over 31% of executives are women.

Needs Work: PVH Corp.

Ranking in at 83rd is PVH Corp. (PVH), the owner of such brands as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Geoffrey Beene. The company has nearly 16,000 employees. The company ranks well with minorities, which make up 60% of the company. Only 18% of the executives are minorities and the company ranks poorly among people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. As well, roughly 11% of the company is made up of Boomers.

Needs Work: Sprint

Sprint (S), another major mega-company, ranks in at 84th. The mobile communications company employed over 28,000, before merging with T-Mobile. Dragging down Sprint's ranking is its poor diversity among people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community.