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Gender diversity at top Fortune 500 companies

November 10, 2022

We analyzed how diversity in Fortune 500 companies compares to the rest of the economy. After all, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging aren’t just nice ideas – they’re values that an increasing number of employees are seeking in their jobs. In fact, 79% of American employees believe that business culture significantly impacts happiness on the job.

For talent leaders, this is an opportunity to evaluate your workforce and consider how to bring new thinking, ideas, and innovation into your company with diverse new hires. But that’s only the beginning. Once you hire diverse teams, you have to create a culture of belonging and provide equitable treatment to keep them there.  

Our approach

With the Great Resignation, tech layoffs, and a massive shift in workplace dynamics since the COVID pandemic, workplace dynamics have changed. Some companies had to shrink rapidly to keep their business afloat and others experienced rapid expansion. So we were curious: has this brought more or less diversity to the workforce?

Findem labor market intelligence is derived from over 100,000 public and licensed data sources for over 4M companies which are analyzed through 1M+ AI-powered attributes. For this report, we analyzed diversity workforce data on 15 companies in the Fortune 500. We looked at US workforce data from 2016 to 2022 to benchmark progress. Findem uses multiple data sources to infer gender with a 95% accuracy rate.

This data will help you better understand the challenges and opportunities for increasing DEIB as well as how your own organization stacks up against top companies today.

Gender diversity in top 15 Fortune 500 companies

In 2022, women made up 46.3% of the US workforce. Of the top 15 Fortune 500 companies, 6 are at or above average, but the other 9 are well below the mark.

Healthcare companies and Berkshire Hathaway led the way with the highest portion of women in their workforce. CVS Health is up 5% since 2016. Walmart is exactly at average with 46% women in their workforce for both years. Meanwhile, tech companies continued to lag behind in hiring and retaining women employees.

Alphabet made the biggest jump with a 26% increase, followed closely by Microsoft and Apple. Tech companies still rank low in the top 15 with only ⅓ of their workforce identifiable as women.

It’s possible that the COVID pandemic slowed hiring initiatives in this period as women’s participation in the workforce dipped in 2020. Only AmerisourceBergen shows a drop (of 2%). The gains seem to show that despite concern about women leaving the workforce, many of the largest employers in the US were able to move the needle on gender equality.

Women in leadership at top 15 companies

Next, we looked at what % of leadership are identifiable as women.

Nvidia, Tesla and Samsung rank lowest for overall workforce parity and they lag significantly at the leadership level as well. This is emphasized by Samsung in particular, which has a US workforce made up of 28% women yet only 13% women leadership.

Even though UnitedHealth Group leads the group with 42% of leadership being women, that is a significant drop from 61% participation in their overall workforce.

Amazon has the highest % women among tech companies and the lowest difference between leadership and overall workforce at just 6%.

Some of the common attributes we found for women in leadership positions at these companies are:

  • Patent holder
  • PhD degree
  • Attended one of the top 100 universities in the US
  • Open-source contributor
  • Leader at a company that IPO’d
  • Acquired company leader
  • Long-term employee

Why gender diversity matters

Statistics on women in leadership roles is a leading indicator for broad changes across the economy. Having a diverse leadership team has a direct impact on your ability to recruit a diverse workforce, improve your productivity, and reap the benefits of innovation.

Something important for companies to focus on is supporting parents in company policy. This goes a long way toward increasing women in the workforce and retaining them throughout their careers. If both parents have the flexibility to support children, women carry less of the overall burden.

More room at the table

We see a bright spot with women in leadership today across the Fortune 500. Women hold CEO positions at CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, General Motors, Anthem, Citigroup, UPS, Best Buy, and Progressive, to name a few. This shows that women CEOs are now spread across various industries including banking, manufacturing, tech, and healthcare. Women CEOs share certain attributes that can help you in your executive search.

Despite the progress, there is still work to be done. Our recruitment trends report found that 57% of talent leaders want to hire a more diverse workforce, but 43% found sourcing candidates a challenge. Most companies are taking a proactive approach to diversity recruiting efforts and promoting diverse people into leadership positions.

Findem can help you identify attributes to expand the overall diversity of your talent pool and increase the possibility of finding the perfect fit candidate you’d never have found without us.