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Report: Workplace Diversity Improving, Pay Gap Continues Across Industries

Namely data shows that mid-market technology companies still struggle with pay equity across gender and ethnicity lines



Workforce diversity has evolved over the past decade from being simply a buzzword to a progressive corporate pursuit. Today, companies are investing in diversity with entire teams and millions budgeted each year dedicated exclusively to building diversity and inclusion with diversity and pay equity metrics now standing alongside traditional performance indicators, such as revenues and budgets, in the boardroom.

While large-sized companies publicly publish their own diversity metrics annually to position themselves as leaders in “D&I” to attract new hires in a hyper-competitive job market, the effectiveness of these investments in mid-sized companies is unclear. While these modestly-sized businesses make up the bulk of the U.S. economy, employing nearly 50 million people, few studies have focused on this segment of the market.

A new report from Namely, a leading HR platform for mid-sized companies, sheds light on whether these investments are hitting the mark when it comes to diversity and inclusion across genders and ethnicities in mid-market workplaces. This year’s Workplace Diversity Report shows where mid-sized businesses are succeeding with diversity and equality, it also uncovers opportunities for improvement.

Key Findings

  • Ten percent of companies now offer employees gender identity options beyond “male” or “female”. Those companies now recognize over 25 unique gender identities; up from five terms from last year’s report.
  • The percentage of non-binary managers, 22 percent, does not vary significantly from the overall employee population (19 percent), suggesting there is not a career opportunity gap for workers who identify as non-binary.
  • White men make up 63 percent of all managers. Fewer women and non-majority employees occupy positions of authority, and are still subject to lower compensation than their male or majority peers.
  • Companies with the smallest pay gaps have more equal representation of women in the top salary tier. Nonprofit companies were the most equitable, while technology and healthcare companies were the least.
  • While men continue to make up the majority of employees in six out of the ten industries examined in the study, the most gender equal industries were financial services, media, professional services, real estate, and retail.
  • The report found a small improvement in workforce diversity at companies with c-level HR or diversity roles, however less than five percent of the most diverse companies had a diversity or c-level HR leader in place – showing that one person is not enough to ensure diversity at a company.

“On the ground, people leaders are making progress on closing the pay gap and moving in the right direction for both women and minorities. Everyone from c-level executives to entry-level employees realize we need to diversify our companies,” said Lorna Hagen, chief people officer, Namely. “HR teams now have more data than ever before to help make that a priority and a reality, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Chase is the founder and Creative Director of, former host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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october 2021