Nike says it will release promotion, hiring data for women and minorities


Nike Inc. will join some of America’s largest employers and release data on hiring and promotion rates for underrepresented groups by the end of 2024.

The sports retailer pledged the data after a campaign by activist investors, according to activist shareholder As You Sow. The group won the support of around a third of Nike shareholders for releasing the data in a 2021 proxy proposal, and it was preparing to seek it again at this year’s annual meeting in September. Nike confirmed its agreement to release the data in an email response.

As You Sow ranks Nike 65th among companies on the Russell 1000 Index for its overall measure of diversity and inclusion, and availability of recruitment and promotion information – which takes pipeline diversity into account companies, especially for management positions – is noted in this ranking. The amount of such data provided by companies has almost quadrupled since August 2020, according to the group.

It’s the next layer of detail that offers investors insight into how companies use employees from minority groups, according to Meredith Benton, workplace equity program manager at As You Sow.

“It’s not if an employee can get in the door, it’s if they’ll stay once they’re there,” Benton said.

Companies are under pressure to disclose more detailed information about the diversity of their workforce to shareholders, as well as employees and consumers. Among the largest companies, most, including Nike, are now willing to share previously private data reported annually to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that details the gender and racial distribution of workers across all job classifications. . Such disclosure was rare as recently as 2020.

Nike said that by 2025, women will make up half of its global workforce and hold 45% of leadership positions, while 30% of director-level employees in the United States will be from racial and minority ethnic groups. The company, which has disclosed some level of diversity data for two decades, also said it would increase the pipeline of black and Latino employees at the executive level and above, and tie pay to performance goals. diversity.

Currently, women hold 49% of jobs and 43% of leadership positions globally, and 30% of leadership positions are held by members of underrepresented groups, the company said on its website.

In response to Nike agreeing to release the data, As You Sow said it would withdraw a proxy proposal that would have put the matter to a shareholder vote at the 2022 annual meeting in September.

Of the 20 diversity disclosure ballot proposals the group has backed for this year’s annual meeting season, 15 were withdrawn after the companies – including Nike – agreed to release more information.

Four resolutions – one for Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc. – were put to a vote and received an average support level of 33%. Another proposal is still under discussion with Procter & Gamble Co., Benton said.

A record number of shareholder proxy matters involving issues of racial justice, gender equality and gun violence have been on the agenda at annual meetings this year. Although a majority failed, as most shareholder campaigns do, some initiatives received significant support. BlackRock Inc. found that about two-thirds of resolutions that get 30-50% support lead to companies partially or fully responding to requests.

By Jeff Green

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