Tuesday, April 4, 2017

After Outreach from Comptroller Stringer and NYC Pension Funds, Six Major Companies Agree to Gender Pay Equity Transparency

   New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds today announced agreements with six major healthcare and insurance companies — two industries which have the highest adjusted gender pay gaps in the nation – to disclose information on how they address gender pay equity.

“Now more than ever, we need to publicly commit to ending the gender pay gap – and these companies are leading the way. When women succeed, our economy succeeds. When shareowners stand up and companies take action, our investments perform better. Transparency is critical to eliminating these gaps,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “If companies refuse to be open and honest — if they ignore investors’ concerns — we have to take a stand. This is not just about fairness — it’s about good management. There’s no excuse for companies to hide this information.”
Nationwide, women earn about 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Further, studies have shown that the healthcare and insurance industries have some of the largest gender pay gaps — even when controlling for age, education, and years of experience, they are 33% higher than the average across the country. These discrepancies can affect women throughout their entire career — other findings regarding corporate diversity include:
• While women make up 78% of the healthcare workforce, they represent just 20% of the executive leadership at Fortune 500 healthcare companies. Nearly two-thirds of those companies have corporate boards that are over 75% male.
• Further, women make up more than 60% of the insurance industry, but hold just 10% of executive positions at insurance companies. More than 80% of board seats in the insurance industry are male.
• Yet, companies with greater gender diversity are 15% more likely to have better financial returns than male-dominated firms.
The six companies that have agreed to disclose meaningful information on gender pay equity include:
• AIG and Prudential Financial, which have for the first time released information on how they review employee salaries and work to ensure women and men are compensated equally. Both are confident they do not have a statistically significant gender pay gap;
• Aflac, which will disclose its female to male salary ratio, opportunities for advancement, and details on board oversight of compensation and benefits in its next Corporate Social Responsibility report;
• Allstate, which will publish a diversity report later this year discussing its annual compensation review process, gender pay equity adjustment policies, opportunities for advancement, and details on board oversight of diversity efforts; and
• Anthem and UnitedHealth Group, which have agreed to conduct additional analyses.

The NYC Pension Funds’ shareowner proposal requesting disclosure of whether a company has a gender pay gap will go to a vote at upcoming annual meetings of at least three companies — Aetna, Express Scripts, and The Travelers Company — all of which refused to disclose meaningful gender pay information. The Comptroller’s Office is still in discussions with a fourth company, McKesson Corporation.
“Gender pay equity disclosures should be a market standard — and we applaud these companies for embracing transparency and fairness. But at the firms that aren’t releasing this information, investors have an opportunity to make a stand. This is simply too important for companies to ignore,” Comptroller Stringer added.

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