DiversityInc on Tuesday revealed the 2017 Top 50 Companies for Diversity, awarding EY the number one spot on this year’s list following an impressive performance since joining the Top 50 in 2001.
Prior to this year’s competition, EY has been among the Top 10 for the past eight years seven of those years in the Top 5. The company ranked third in 2016.
The Top 50 list, issued yearly since 2001, recognizes the nation’s top companies for diversity and inclusion management. These companies excel in such areas as hiring, retaining and promoting women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, LGBT and veterans.
In addition to its position on the Top 50, EY also landed on nine specialty lists, including No. 1 for Executive Women, People with Disabilities, Diversity Councils, Employee Resource Groups and Mentoring.
“EY is number one because they worked harder than anyone else,” said DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti. “They have outstanding CEO engagement with Steve Howe, who has empowered his people to do their job, and they did it. And they take this very seriously, with metrics-based and cultural emphases.”
Visconti said EY understands diversity and inclusion is critical to business and rooted in finding the best talent.
“EY produces no product other than the product of the human brain,” he said. “For EY, it all boils down to doing a better job for their clients. They focus on scooping up the best talent, and once they have them, they do a superior job of keeping them. They focus on the whole package: recruitment, onboarding, talent development and retention. This is top-down, side to side.”
U.S. Chairman and Americas Managing Partner of EY Steve Howe told the roughly 1,000 attendees gathered at Cipriani Wall Street for the Top 50 event that his firm invests in diversity and inclusion as a “business imperative.”
View photo galleries from the Top 50 Learning Sessions and Announcement Dinner.
“Over the last 11 years at the helm of EY it’s been very clear to me that being centered on people, culture and values is what it’s all about,” Howe said. “And as our world and our people became increasingly diverse, I came to realize that inclusiveness was not just a buzzword. This was actually a business imperative. Diversity and inclusion became the catalyst for our success at EY. We committed to being the best we could be at diversity and inclusion, and we put great emphasis on all of it.”
Howe added that D&I is a strategic priority for his firm. “I remember clearly sitting around our boardroom table, during the financial crisis, and most things we had to cut back on. Diversity and inclusion we doubled down. We consider our culture to be a competitive advantage.”
DiversityInc’s extensive annual survey yields an empirically driven ranking based on recruitment, talent development, senior leadership commitment and supplier diversity. This year’s competition was improved by new survey questions, increased emphasis on fairness over chasing numbers and more sophisticated analysis from the company’s data scientists.
“The 10 percent increase in companies participating in the survey from a year ago proves that accountable leaders at these companies view diversity and inclusion as a key business measure,” said Carolynn Johnson, DiversityInc’s COO.
To further confirm the impact of diversity and inclusion on the bottom line, CNBC reporter Bertha Coombs was on hand Tuesday to unveil this year’s DiversityInc Top 50 stock index and its comparison to the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.
“The companies that compete to earn a spot on the DiversityInc Top 50 and the specialty lists understand the importance of diverse workforces and management teams,” Coombs said. “Research shows that these most diverse companies tend to actually perform better financially than the overall market. The Top 50 stock index, analyzed by CNBC’s market services group, shows that longer term, three to five years, those companies on the DI Top 50 list of the most diverse companies outperform the overall market by a healthy margin.”
While the one-year return of nearly 10.4 percent for the Top 50 index is slightly lower than the S&P’s 11.8 percent and Dow’s nearly 14 percent, it’s certainly competitive, Coombs said, adding that the DI Index three-year return of nearly 28 percent outperforms the S&P 500’s 26 percent and the Dow’s 25 percent.
“When you look at the five-year long-term return, the DI Index totally outperforms,” she explained. “79 percent, compared to S&P’s 69 percent, and the Dow, only 57 percent.
“So when you look at the data, companies committed to diversity just grow and prosper more on every front. So if you don’t focus on the buying power of Latinos or people of color, if you don’t look at the fact that in the next 30 years or so, the majority of this country more than 52 percent will be people of color, then you are really missing the big picture. And you are really not focusing on the stars and focusing on the future,” Coombs told business leaders in the audience. “You’ve got to develop young people who have a lot of different backgrounds. And in the long term, if you don’t simply put you’ll be less successful. Or worse, you’ll be displaced by a competitor who knows better and who recognizes those gems and recognizes the need for different ideas, people from different backgrounds, who are going to help you reach the audience that you want to reach, that is much more diverse than ever in this country.”
In addition to the Top 50 list, DiversityInc also revealed the following specialty lists:
- Top 13 Companies for Diversity Councils (EY, No. 1)
- Top 12 Companies for Employee Resource Groups (EY, No. 1)
- Top 15 Companies for Mentoring (EY, No. 1)
- Top 12 Companies for People with Disabilities (EY, No. 1)
- Top 12 Companies for Recruitment (AT&T, No. 1)
- Top 11 Companies for Supplier Diversity (Dell, No. 1)
- Top 15 Companies for Veterans (Northrop Grumman, No. 1)
- Top 12 Hospitals and Health Systems (Mount Sinai Health System, No. 1)
- Top 11 Regional Companies (Blue Cross Blue Shield ofMichigan, No. 1)
- Top 5 Utilities (Ameren Corporation, No. 1)
- Top 9 Companies for Executive Women (EY, No. 1)
- Top 11 for Progress (Southern Company, No. 1)
- Top Companies for Global Diversity (not a ranked list)
- Top Companies for LGBT Employees (not a ranked list)
The Top 50 announcement dinner in New York also featured speakers including Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”; Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; and Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, recently retired director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and past president of Spelman and Bennett colleges, who received DiversityInc’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
To view the complete Top 50 and specialty lists, visit http://www.diversityinc.com/top50.