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4 Companies Paving the Way in Equal Opportunities

by Martha Simmonds
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Before you consider how to pay your employees, assess whether you’re offering them equal opportunities and pay parity. To better understand how to run an effective equal opportunities workplace, it’s good practice to look at some industry leaders for guidance.

Read on to discover how discrimination blights a workplace and learn about a handful of companies that are paving the way in stamping out discrimination and prioritizing equal opportunities for all.

What are equal opportunities in the workplace?

Equal opportunities in the workplace are governed in the United States by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This federal agency emerged as a result of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It’s their role to enforce civil rights laws in the workplace by investigating discrimination.

Major companies tend to set out their equal opportunity commitments as part of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) data. Those with success in limiting discrimination are considerations for ESG investing.

Discrimination in the workplace can occur based on a variety of factors. The main reasons why someone may be discriminated against include their skin color, race, country of origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability.

A company might not hire someone based on one of these factors. Alternatively, if they are hired, that individual may experience bullying or be overlooked for promotion. Failure to hire, support and promote different people is not only morally wrong but it’s also bad business practice. A diverse workforce has more insights, ideas and skills, which can further a company’s goals and boost profits.

Equal opportunity workplaces

Fortunately, there are lots of companies that see the value in encouraging equal opportunities. They know that they can thrive if they have a workforce consisting of individuals from all walks of life.

Here we’ll explore four of these equal opportunity companies and establish their credentials for being world leaders in this field:

eBay

eBay, one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces, has made a clear commitment to creating equal opportunities. This is evident in how they pay men and women in their workforce. US women earn the same as US men in terms of salary and global patterns are encouraging too. While you may expect this to be a given in every company, it isn’t, so it’s great that eBay is moving in the right direction on this.

This much-loved company knows the importance of having both men and women at the decision-making table and the major steps they’ve taken in recent years to address the gender pay gap is evidence of this.

Apple

The world-famous iPhone maker, Apple, is a world leader when it comes to gender and ethnicity equality. Apple increased its number of female employees by 0.8% in the 12 months between 2020 and 2021. Asian employees make up 27.9% of the workforce, and this grew by 0.9% in the same period.

Between 2014 and 2021, the increase in the number of black employees in the US was 71%, while the number of Hispanic/Latinx employees more than doubled. The company also donates huge sums of money to its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

At Apple, the statistics do the talking, and they have plans to further develop their equal opportunities culture over the coming years.

Starbucks

Starbucks is one of few industries with more female than male employees. Their workforce includes 71.3% female staff members. On ethnicity and race, this company is also ahead of the pack. 48.2% of Starbucks’ employees are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, which is much higher than most other companies, especially global brands of this size.

The company also regularly states its commitment to ending systemic racism and was quick to release a statement of support during Black Lives Matter protests. They will donate $1m in Neighborhood Grants to promote racial equity and create more inclusive communities.

Intel

The technology company Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of computer chips and employs over 130,000 people. Being a traditionally male-dominated industry may suggest that pay parity is challenging, but Intel led the way in this effort. It was one of the first major companies to achieve pay parity for women, achieving this in 2016.

Given the nature of the technology sector, women only make up 26% of Intel’s workforce, while those from underrepresented groups constitute 15.8%. While these results aren’t hugely flattering, Intel still stands out as a world leader in equal opportunities. This is because it provides the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with more in-depth employee pay data than any other company.

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