Citrix Systems – Workplace Diversity – (2016)
Outcome: Successfully withdrawn after the company committed to several initiatives which include reporting annual EEO-1 workforce diversity data: publishing details, including oversight, of its diversity and inclusion programs, and setting time-bound diversity and inclusion goals by December, 2016.
McKinsey & Company found companies with highly diverse executive teams had higher returns on equity and earnings performance than those with low diversity, and a May 2014 study found gender diverse teams were better at driving “radical innovation”.
Citrix states in its Code of Business Conduct that it “values employee diversity and equal opportunity for all”. Yet, information sufficient to allow investors to determine if the company has a diverse workforce, such as public reporting of EEO-1 data, is not disclosed.
Citrix acknowledges that it “is rapidly expanding its business every day” and that its responsibility to be a global corporate citizen has grown. Companies can better anticipate and respond to diverse customer demand with a diverse workforce. As Brian Welle, of Google, told the New York Times in 2014, “If we have an employee base that reflects our user base, we are going to better understand the needs of people all over the world”.
Yet, employment and advancement barriers persist. Women make up 59 percent of the U.S. workforce, but just 29 percent of the workforce of major technology companies, and 23 percent of leadership positions at those companies.
Further, according to the United States Census Bureau, 74 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, are not employed in STEM occupations. About 86 percent of engineers and 74 percent of computer professionals are men.
According to an analysis of data compiled by the Computing Research Association, “[t]op universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them.”
Several peers have acknowledged the problem and lack of progress toward achieving greater diversity. In doing so industry peers including Intel, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, Hewlett-Packard, and Nvidia have provided greater transparency about the composition of their workforce by publicly reporting EEO-1 data.
Also, in response to this concern, Intel set a public, time-bound goal for hiring women and underrepresented minorities. A portion of every employee’s 2015 variable compensation is tied to achieving the diversity goal. And, in August, 2015 Intel reported that it exceeded its target of 40 percent hires of women, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans in the first six months of the year.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Citrix prepare a diversity report, at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, available to investors by September, 2016 including the following:
1. A chart identifying employees according to gender and race in the major EEOC-defined job categories, listing numbers or percentages in each category;
2. A description of policies/programs focused on increasing diversity in the workplace.
Supporting Statement: A report adequate for investors to assess Citrix’s strategy and performance would include a review of appropriate benchmarks for judging current and future progress, and details of policies and practices designed to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring of staff and to build mentorship among staff of color.