Stifel Financial – Workforce Diversity (2018)
Outcome: Withdrawn following Stifel’s commitments to disclose strategies and initiatives to expand diversity and inclusion in its workforce including reporting annual EEO-1 workforce diversity data (across six gender/ethnic/race categories and three job categories) and tracking diversity in internship and summer analyst programs.
Stifel states that it “nurtures a culture which values the diversity of its workforce and encourages independent thinking in pursuing our clients’ goals.” And, it has “succeeded in attracting and retaining a wealth of talented associates who prefer a culture which rewards team-oriented, creative thinking.”
However, Stifel does not disclose workforce data, nor descriptions of policies or practices with respect to recruitment, training, pay or advancement. As a result, shareholders have insufficient information to determine if the company has a diverse workforce, and to what degree the company is successful in expanding gender, racial and ethnic diversity in its workforce.
Companies with strong commitments to diversity in our view are better positioned to attract and retain talent. If companies have an employee base that reflects the diversity of the marketplace, they are better equipped to attract customers and deliver successful products.
Compelling research points to positive relationships between the level of gender racial and ethnic diversity and company financial performance. A McKinsey study of 366 companies found that companies in the top quartile of gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have financial returns that were above their national industry median. Companies in the top quartile of racial/ethnic diversity were 30 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median.
Financial services firms including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, and Bank of New York Mellon provide details of diversity programs and policies, and disclose workforce statistics consistent with reports provided to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Asset Management firms including Blackrock, Capital Group and Fidelity, in 2016, shared diversity statistics. Their statistics showed, on average, that women represent nearly one-half of their workforce but represent just one-quarter of senior staff.
Additionally, women of color remain significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline. In a 2017 study. LeanIn.org and McKinsey suggest that women of color are the most underrepresented group in the senior and upper ranks of companies.
Expanding workforce diversity and closing the wage gap requires policies that attract and retain diversity in the workplace. A company’s family leave policies, for example, can play a role. The best performing companies on gender diversity have implemented gender neutral policies that improve the workplace for both men and women, according to McKinsey.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that Stifel prepare an annual diversity report, at a reasonable cost and omitting confidential information, available to investors including:
1. A chart identifying employees according to gender and race in major EEOC-defined job categories, listing numbers or percentages in each category;
2. A description of policies/programs focused on increasing gender and racial diversity in the workplace.
Supporting Statement: A report adequate for investors to assess strategy and performance can include historical data, a review of appropriate time-bound benchmarks for judging current and future progress, and details of policies and practices designed to reduce unconscious bias in hiring, prevent sexual harassment, build mentorship programs, and workforce stability.