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Workplace diversity and inclusion progress

Elena Philipova
Elena Philipova
Global Head ESG Proposition, Refinitiv

Workplace diversity and inclusion is a growing force in sustainable investing. A Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) report uses our ESG metrics to examine the diversity trends across industries and regions, including for women in business.


  1. A workplace diversity and inclusion report from Refinitiv focuses on factors including board diversity, working hours and the number of employees with disabilities.
  2. Analysis of the Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index shows female board representation is up 47 percent in the last five years, but still only 18 percent of the total board composition.
  3. The Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index ranks the top 100 publicly traded companies with the most diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Investors and portfolio managers are increasingly looking for companies that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) values and principles in their business.

In order to help inform their investment decision-making, Refinitiv’s ESG database has become a powerful resource in helping to measure the relative performance of companies against factors that define workplace diversity and inclusion.

The Refinitiv Diversity & Inclusion Index ranks the top 100 publicly traded companies with the most diverse and inclusive workplaces, as measured by 24 separate metrics across four key pillars.

A new workplace diversity and inclusion report from Refinitiv has taken a closer look at these ESG metrics to identify insight and trends across industries and regions.

Download and read the report: Measuring Diversity & Inclusion Progress

Diversity and Inclusion Report focus

Workplace diversity and inclusion

A successful workforce drives the business forward and comes up with innovative ideas to keep it competitive. With this in mind, it is important that a company represents the community it serves to ensure it provides value to those making the business successful.

Our analysis reveals a number of areas of insight that investors should be paying attention to:

  • Over the last five years, the number of companies reporting on board gender diversity has increased 63.5 percent, with the number of females on boards increasing by 47.2 percent. Female board members still only account for 18 percent of all board positions.
  • Only 27 percent of managerial roles are filled by women. That’s an area of concern, particularly if industries are hoping to have gender diverse boards.
  • Despite an impressive increase in the number of companies reporting on female employees (103 percent more companies reporting over five years), we are seeing a slow increase in the percentage of employees who are female (six percent increase over five years).

Watch: Measuring Diversity & Inclusion Progress: Female Workforce

Flexible working hours

It is also vital that firms attract talent and retain it. As companies do this in a variety of ways, we focus on a few ESG metrics that encourage inclusivity.

There has been a 38 percent increase in companies reporting on flexible working hours over the past five years. European countries make up six of the top 10 countries with flexible working hours.Companies with flexible hours. Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion

Meanwhile, the number of companies reporting on employees with disabilities within their organization is still very low, despite an increase over the last five years.

Watch: Measuring Diversity & Inclusion Progress: The Workplace

D&I policies and targets

Many companies are now implementing diversity and opportunity policies.

Eighty-five percent of companies have a Diversity & Opportunity policy, but only 17 percent have targets. This leads to the question whether companies will only implement these policies if they are attached to targets.

Inclusivity within the workplace also depends on developing the workforce, where we see there has been an impressive increase in the number of companies with a policy for career development.Companies with policies for career development. Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion Index

Our Diversity & Inclusion Index measures the relative performance of companies against factors that define diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Each year we announce the top 100 best performing companies based on our proprietary D&I score.

Among a few interesting insights this year:

  • The diversity and inclusion score of constituents in the Diversity & Inclusion Index has decreased 1.27 percent since the index inception, despite the highest D&I score increasing three percent from 2016 to 2019.
  • The United States is the top performing country.
  • The energy and fossil fuel industry is the lowest ‘top performer’ in the index. It will be interesting to see how the score for this industry develops, as new thinking is required to move society away from fossil fuel.

D&I Index – top countries. Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion

Download the Refinitiv workplace diversity and inclusion report

As more companies report on their efforts at workplace diversity and inclusion, Refinitiv is encouraging them to be as transparent as possible so that investors and analysts have a holistic view of any chosen investment.

Find out how ESG data from Refinitiv can help you to make sound and sustainable investment decisions.