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Corporate Diversity Lacking, Sen. Bob Menendez Survey Shows

by Suzanne Gamboa /
Women entrepreneurs during the fourth Women Entrepreneurs Festival in New York, on Jan. 15. EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP - Getty Images file

Most of the nation’s top companies that participated in a diversity survey done by New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez have written diversity strategies but just half make their chief diversity officer answer to the company’s CEO.

Menendez released results of a recurring diversity survey of Fortune 100 companies on Tuesday. Responses to the voluntary survey were provided by 69 of the companies.

According to results of the voluntary survey, the vast majority of the participating companies have formal written diversity strategies, annually reassess the plans and attach accountability measures to meeting and exceeding the goals.

But just 14.5 percent of companies with a diversity officer say that person reports to the company CEO, just 9.2 percent include numeric targets at the board of directors’ level; half (54.8 percent) connect diversity goals to executive compensation and no supplier diversity officers report to the CEO.

Women of color are less than 3 percent of executive team members and 49 companies did not have a single woman of color in their executive team, the survey found.

The results showed continued lack of diversity in corporate upper ranks and in where companies are spending their money.

“We are at a critical juncture in which companies that prioritize diversity must take greater risks and make a more concerted effort than ever before to align their diversity values with their business practices, and my hope is that this survey is a valuable tool in that integration program,” Menendez said in his report.

 File photo of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. Mel Evans / AP

The survey is the third done by Menendez, D-N.J.,, as chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force. It is intended to track progress of the nation’s top companies on the hiring of women and minorities. This is the first year his office has focused on Fortune 100 companies.

The report had further findings on the presence of women and minorities including:

--White men are 63 percent of the members of the participating companies board members.

--People of color are 18.3 percent of board directors.

--Women of color are 2.7 percent of executive team members and 49 companies did not have a single woman of color in their executive team.

--The share of procurement dollars spent with minority- and women-owned firms dropped in 2014 for nearly every racial and ethnic minority group.

Menendez planned to share the results Tuesday with public and private industry officials in a closed-door meeting. The senator also was crafting legislative proposals on diversity in corporate America.