On Monday, WWD began what resulted in a four-part series that sampled a by-no-means comprehensive list of key industry players across the fashion, retail and beauty sectors, mass to luxury, in an attempt to determine how diverse their workforces truly are.
The answer is clear, as admitted by even the most diverse of industry players: This is an industry that, at least in the senior management ranks, remains primarily white. And even as companies have made strides over the last few years to address the disparity, a lot of work still needs to be done — and quickly.
More from WWD
Regarding the survey: As previously outlined, all companies were sent 16 questions, some purely quantitative: How many/what percentage of employees are people of color, and Black specifically? How many of each work in corporate versus retail? How many hold corporate management positions versus in-store management positions? Other questions included: How do you define diversity? What diversity and inclusion programs do you have in place? Of what are you most proud? What can you do better?
In every case, WWD requested a comment from the organization’s top executive.
“The Numbers” come mainly from the companies, either in survey answers or pulled from web sites. All breakdowns listed reflect U.S. employment populations only, and only those employees who self-identify, since in Europe, for example, companies are barred by law from breaking down the ethnic makeup of their European employees.
Here, the final listings in the series, ending with Walmart.
Employees: 97,000 worldwide
U.S. beauty organization workforce: 13% Black
U.S. beauty senior leadership group: 34% minorities; 14% Black
Leadership team: 34 members; 11 people of color, 2 Black members: Monica Turner, Damon Jones
Board: 12 members; 2 people of color: Joseph Jimenez (Latinx); Amy Chang (Asian)
IN THE MIRROR
P&G has made battling racism a cornerstone of its corporate citizenship ethos. In 2017, the company became one of the founding members of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, and participated in the organization’s Day of Dialogue in 2018 and 2019. P&G ranks third on Forbes’ 2020 list of Best Employers for Diversity. It has produced three short films centering on issues of racism — 2017’s “The Talk,” 2019’s “The Look,” and “The Choice,” released in early June. A P&G spokesperson described the films as part of an ongoing effort to “help consumers more broadly understand and overcome bias.” Last year, P&G started Take on Race, which brings together private-sector groups “to address inequality across areas such as education, media and representation.” In the wake of the George Floyd protests, the company announced the establishment of the Take on Race Fund with an initial contribution of $5 million to aid organizations fighting for equality and social justice.
In response to WWD’s questions, P&G’s spokesperson said that the company sets representation goals for hiring, employment and retention, without giving specifics. A team, led by chief diversity officer Shelly McNamara, leads year-round efforts to focus attention on issues of representation. In addition to diversity training, managers also participate in a specially designed program called “Managing Inclusive Partnerships.” P&G also hosts a yearly company-wide Diversity & Inclusion focus week featuring discussion and education forums.
Regarding its employee population, “Accountability is an important part of our ongoing process,” the spokesperson said. “We continuously examine all aspects of our recruiting, development and retention efforts to calibrate and make step changes in any and all areas.”
Overall, focus is both internal and external, as chief executive officer David Taylor wrote in a LinkedIn post reinforcing the brand’s commitment to social change. “While we cannot control what happens beyond our walls, we can step up, step forward and help create the world in which we want to live,” he said. “One conversation at a time. One action at a time.”
Employees worldwide: approx. 6,000
People of color/Black: 57% Caucasian; 27% Black; 9% Hispanic; 5% Asian; 1% American Indian, Pacific Islander; 1% mixed race
Director and above: 5% Black
Executive leadership team: 14 members; 4 people of color: Ava Huang (Asian), Sergio Pedreiro (Latinx), Keyla Lazardi (Latinx), Jose Urquijo (Latinx)
Board: 12 members; 2 Black members: Nicole Avant; Ceci Kurzman
IN THE MIRROR
Of the companies queried, Revlon reports one of the highest percentages of Black employees, 27 percent of its self-reporting U.S. workforce. Yet the company maintains it needs to do more. In a post to its Instagram account, it released the diversity statistics above, and said, “We are not where we need to be on diversity and representation in our company.” It stated that inclusion and equality are “core Revlon values and we stand by them.”
To that end, setting measurable targets is essential. “Defining specific and quantifiable diversity goals is one action we are focused on as we take specific action to address diversity and inclusion for Black people and people of color at our company,” Revlon said in its response to WWD’s survey. While it did not outline those specifics, the company noted that addressing the recruiting strategy is “one of the key pillars” in the company’s diversity agenda. Revlon will also strive to improve the representation of people of color through “employment practices at every level.”
Going forward, Revlon has vowed to reflect on how it can better support the Black community in the fight against racial injustice. “We are committed to doing our part to impact positive change and are actively working to achieve it,” the response noted, and the process will be ongoing: “We will be taking steps in the coming days, weeks and months as we challenge ourselves to evolve as a brand, a company and a community. We will not stay silent on these fundamental moral issues that challenge our core values.”
TJX COMPANIES, INC.
Employees: 286,000 worldwide
U.S. employees: 57% non-white
Assistant manager and above: 34% non-white
“Inclusion and diversity have long been a priority at TJX, and in these serious times, we recognize more than ever that we need to continue working to do better,” said chief executive officer Ernie Herrman in response to WWD. “I believe that in the long term, the diversity of our associate base makes us a stronger company and better able to serve our broad base of customers around the world.
“Operating our business in nine countries, our workforce reflects a diversity of races, ethnicities, cultures and nationalities. The aspiration for our inclusion efforts is that we want associates to feel welcome in the organization, valued for their contributions and engaged with our business which we believe helps retain diverse associates.”
TJX laid out a number diversity and inclusion markers — including numbers. The company monitors “the changing composition of our workforce,” including by ethnicity and race. In the U.S., 57 percent of the workforce and 34 percent of assistant managers and above are non-white, the percentages up by three points over the past five years. “While we are pleased to see these numbers increasing, we know we can do better, and want to increase the number of people of color within management, including Black and African American managers,” the statement said.
This past year, TJX conducted a U.S.-workforce pay equity analysis covering both gender and race/ethnicity. Factoring for job title, geography, and full- or part-time status, the company found no meaningful difference in base pay between associates based on gender or race/ethnicity.
TJX is among the companies offering training in unconscious bias, which it started several years ago. More than 190,000 employees including members of corporate and divisional management have participated in these workshops, available on the retailer’s intranet. The company also encourages and supports outside development programs including those offered by the the NAACP, the National Urban League and The Partnership, the National Hispanic Corporate Council.
In light of the George Floyd killing and the resulting social justice movement, the TJX Foundation is focusing more acutely on support to Black and African American communities than in the past, and over the next two years will provide $10 million in grant funding to organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and the United Negro College Fund. Contributions to the latter fund full scholarships for students. The philanthropy will also benefit programs in Canada and Europe.
“We are certainly proud of what we have shared regarding our inclusion and diversity efforts,” the response said. “However, we clearly recognize there is so much more to do. At TJX, our culture strives to embrace the fundamental value and inherent dignity of every associate. We are highly energized about the recent internal conversations we have had regarding race and ethnicity and impressed by the receptivity expressed by our associates. We hope this foundation of awareness and racial empathy encourages associates to reach out and check in with one another, keep the conversation going and ask questions as we move forward to build an even better work.”
Employees worldwide: 3,800 worldwide; 64% U.S.-based
U.S. corporate: 50% ethnically diverse
U.S. retail: 65% ethnically diverse
Operating team: 16% ethnically diverse
IN THE MIRROR
In her company’s response to WWD, Tory Burch called diversity “a longstanding internal priority at our company. Having a diverse team is essential,” she said. “We have made progress but we can — and must — do better.”
The company’s response noted that building diversity into all aspects of the company has long been a focus. “Recognizing and respecting what makes each one of us unique — is a core value at Tory Burch,” a spokesperson said. She referenced the Tory Burch Foundation, launched in 2009 to support women entrepreneurs. Three years ago, it expanded with the Embrace Ambition initiative, “which challenges stereotypes and raises awareness of unconscious bias.” Each year, the foundation selects 50 “Fellows,” who take part in a week of workshops and meetings in New York, and receive an education grant. Forty percent of the 2020 Fellows are women of color.
In direct response to the killing of George Floyd, last month the company started counseling for Black employees to help them deal with current trauma, and this summer will expand its bias training with sessions focused on being “Color Brave,” inspired by a talk Mellody Hobson gave at the company’s Embrace Ambition Summit in March. Eventually, the company will also offer training to employees to become facilitators in their own private circles of difficult conversations around race and social injustice.
“The tragic deaths of George Floyd and many other Black men and women — the list is long and heartbreaking — underscores glaring systemic inequities and we cannot look away,” Burch said. “Now more than ever, we must take responsibility and we all need to change the paradigm and hold everyone — including ourselves — accountable. It is an issue of humanity. We can’t go back.”
Employees: 14,000 worldwide
U.S. employees: 50% white; 21% Hispanic/Latino; 17% Black/African American; 8% Asian; 4% two or more races; less than 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; less than 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native
Corporate: 71% white; 11% Black/African American; 7% Hispanic/Latino; 7% Asian; 3% two or more races; less than 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; less than 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native
Director and above: 80% white; 7% Black/African American; 6% Asian; 5% Hispanic or Latino; 1% two or more races; less than 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native
Vice president and above: 89% white; 4% Black/African American; 4% Asian; 3% Hispanic/ Latino
Senior vice president and above: 90% white; 7% Black/African American; 3% Asian
Board: 9 members; 2 people of color: Jerri L. DeVard (Black) Mohamed El-Erian (Middle Eastern)
IN THE MIRROR
An Under Armour spokesperson e-mailed a link to a statement chief executive officer Patrik Frisk sent to employees last month. Frisk recalled that as he and his leadership team “listened to Black teammates express a variety of emotions from anger to frustration to exhaustion…we recognized the immense responsibility we have to do so much more.”
Among those voices were members of the UA’s BEAT (Black Employees Achieving Together) Team Resource Group. The letter admitted that the company can and should do more in its D&I efforts. “We need to be radically honest and acknowledge that when we look back at our past track record, it’s clear we could have done more, done better, done things faster,” Frisk said.
The commitment to improvement was set to begin with a Day of Healing, listening, learning and action focused on “supporting our Black teammates and facilitating education and engagement on racial justice issues within our walls and in society at large.” Frisk also noted plans to partner with Under Armour’s roster of athletes to amplify their voices around racial and social issues.
In terms of in-house employees, Under Armour has pledged to heighten its recruiting efforts to “improve the representation of historically underrepresented groups…particularly at the director and above levels.” The company will also increase funding and support for the professional and career development of members of underrepresented groups. Accountability measures for diversity in hiring, retention and advancement will be put in place for leaders at all levels, and “accelerated education” on creating inclusive cultures and supporting antiracism will be offered for all employees.
Employees: 2.2 million worldwide; 1.4 million U.S.
U.S. workforce: 21% Black/African American associates; 15% Hispanic or Latino American associates; 5% Asian American or Pacific Islander associates; 1% American Indian or Alaskan Native
Sales workers: 22.19% Black/African American; 14.69% Hispanic or Latino; 4.27% Asian; 0.48% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 1.01% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.38% two or more races
Service workers: 22.65% Black/African American; 15.13% Hispanic or Latino; 3.25% Asian; 0.49% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.97% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 1.92% two or more races
Laborers and helpers: 24.82% Black/African American; 20.4% Hispanic or Latino; 2.34% Asian; 0.44% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.77% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.56% two or more races
Technicians: 14.08% Black/African American; 14.47% Hispanic or Latino; 6.76% Asian; 0.43% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.94% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.29% two or more races
Operatives: 17.39% Black/African American; 16.77% Hispanic or Latino; 2.90% Asian; 0.35% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.82% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 1.92% two or more races
Professionals: 7.76% Black/African American; 5.06% Hispanic or Latino; 20.74% Asian; 0.35% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.68% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.77% two or more races
Craft workers: 16.78% Black/African American; 14.84% Hispanic or Latino; 1.88% Asian; 0.44% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 1.08% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.36% two or more races
Administrative support workers: 22.72% Black/African American; 15.33% Hispanic or Latino; 3.43% Asian; 0.64% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 1.17% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.69% two or more races
First/mid-level officials and managers: 14.39% Black/African American; 11.71% Hispanic or Latino; 2.97% Asian; 0.43% American Indian or Alaskan Native; 0.91% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 2.23% two or more races
Executive/senior-level managers: 5.71% Black/African American; 6.62% Hispanic or Latino; 7.53% Asian; 0.46% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 0.68% two or more races
IN THE MIRROR
While Walmart did not provide unique answers to WWD’s survey, the company’s 2019 Spark Inclusion; Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Report, published last month, contains a wealth of information and data. In his leadership message at the beginning of the report, chief executive officer Doug McMillon referenced the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. “This racial violence in the U.S. is tragic, painful and unacceptable,” he said. “And it’s a call to action to move forward — together — in the fight for greater racial equity inside and outside Walmart.”
In the report, Walmart highlights the many resources available to diverse employees, including mentoring programs and Associate Resource Groups dedicated to different communities including Black, Native American and Alaskan, Veteran, LGBTQ employees and others. One such ARG, The African American Business Resource Group, launched a panelist series called Black Leaders Matter in February 2019; its discussions focused on personal and professional paths to leadership. Another area of attention: The New American Workforce Portal, which the report describes as “a free and confidential way for associates to apply for United States citizenship.”
The most striking feature of Walmart’s D&I report is the depth of the data the company makes public, the specificity of its breakdowns and the clarity of detail in describing how the company defines rolls at every tier. Walmart says that it sees data collection and analysis as critical to its Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and its methods are sophisticated. For instance, it makes public not just its workforce statistics, but percentages related to employee promotions broken down by gender and race. For instance, new hires were 53 percent people of color, while promotions from hourly positions to management were 42 percent people of color. (For promotions from hourly to hourly and management to management, the figures were 54 percent and 37 percent POC, respectively). In his leadership statement, McMillon says that while he is proud of Walmart’s work in the D&I space, the company still has many steps to go. He also expressed hope that “at this time next year, when it is time to write this letter, the world will be in a better place. Our hope is there will have been some healing. Our hope is our communities and country will be closer and more united. Our hope is that together, as communities and as a country, we will have confronted the corrosive power of racism in a way we have never done before.”
A lofty ambition for a retailer to hope to contribute to in a meaningful way, certainly, but perhaps less so for one of Walmart’s heft (and wealth). The company is committed to do its part to move the needle. In a letter to Walmart associates on June 5, McMillon wrote that the company intends to “focus the power of Walmart on our nation’s financial, health care, education and criminal justice system.” One way to achieve this intention, he said, is “leveraging our business to drive these outcomes.” Another way: Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are putting their money where their mouth is to the tune of $100 million, funneled over the next five years through a new center that will address systemic racism head on.