According to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of California is 35.3% Hispanic, 14.7% Asian, 5.8% Black or African American, and 13.8% “Some Other Race.” Hundreds of thousands of California residents are also disabled and/or working past the age of 65, or identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Thus, it’s no wonder that the Golden State is home to some of the most diverse employers in the country.
Recently, Statista surveyed 60,000 Americans working for businesses with a minimum of 1,000 employees. The survey asked each worker to rate their company on the equality of:
- sexual orientation
- general diversity
Because the survey was anonymous, workers were encouraged to openly share their opinions. Survey participants belonging to a minority group were also asked to recognize companies other than their own that they perceive as diverse. The organizations with the most recommendations were compared to a list of companies determined to have the most diverse boards and execute ranks. The final result was published by Forbes as a list of the 500 best employers for diversity.
1. Visa Inc.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 5
Visa is undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognized brands. The company facilitates the transfers of electronic funds via credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards. In fact, the Nilson Report asserts that Visa processes upwards of 100 billion transactions per year. The company is headquartered near San Francisco, but employs approximately 17,000 people worldwide.
2. Levi Strauss & Co
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 7
There are few things as American as a pair of Levi’s denim jeans. The company has operated in San Francisco since its founding by Levi Strauss in 1853. Levi Strauss & Co. operates 2,800 stores worldwide, and also owns the popular brands Dockers and Denizen. As of 2018, Levi Strauss employs 15,100 workers around the globe.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 12
More than 60 million households in the United States — and 148 million households worldwide — subscribe to Netflix, making the company a true household name. Based in the Bay Area, Netflix is a media-services provider through which subscribers can access streaming entertainment. In recent years, Netflix has also taken on the role of production company. Indeed, the company’s many “Netflix Originals” have taken Hollywood by storm, and are even changing the way Hollywood operates.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 14
Headquartered in San Francisco, Salesforce is a cloud-based software company best known for its customer-relationship management service. Among Salesforce’s myriad other services are myTrailhead, AppExchange, Lightning Platform, and Work.com. The company employs about 35,000 people. It was ranked by Forbes as one of 2018’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
5. California Institute of Technology
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 15
Perhaps better known as Caltech, California Institute of Technology is a highly selective private research university in Southern California. Frequently ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the world, Caltech is especially strong in engineering and the natural sciences. The school employs about 300 academic staff who teach across six divisions, and who manage approximately $330 million in sponsored research at any given time.
6. University of California, Irvine
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 18
Though it is one of 10 schools making up the University of California system, UC Irvine is the only university to make our list of the 30 best employers for diversity in California. The university employs upwards of 11,000 academic and administrative staff on its 1,500-acre suburban campus. Considered a “Public Ivy,” UC Irvine has also been named one of California’s best overall employers (Forbes, 2019), one of America’s best overall employers (Forbes, 2019), and one of the country’s best midsize employers (Forbes, 2018).
7. UCLA Health
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 21
Multiple hospitals and care centers throughout greater Los Angeles make up UCLA Health. Because they are associated with University of California, these hospitals and care centers are considered academic medical centers. Besides the initiatives typical of a healthcare system, UCLA Health is also home to Operation Mend, a unique program which offers care to military veterans wounded in the Middle East.
8. Cisco Systems
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 25
Cisco Systems is one of the best known technology conglomerates in the Silicon Valley, and one of the country’s most diverse employers. The multinational company develops, manufactures, and sells various software, networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and high-technology services. Its many subsidiaries include OpenDNS, Jabber, and Webex. Cisco employs approximately 73,700 professionals.
9. The Walt Disney Co.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 26
For people around the world, The Walt Disney Co. is a much loved household name. Headquartered in Southern California, Disney is an entertainment and media conglomerate known for its parks and resorts, media networks, studio entertainment, and consumer products and interactive media. The more than 200,000 Disney employees around the world work to run theme parks, publish games and books, and produce live-action and animated entertainment, among other things.
10. Adobe Inc.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 32
Yet another tech company to make our list of California’s most diverse employers is Adobe Inc. This multinational computer software company first found success developing multimedia and creativity software products such as Adobe Flash and Photoshop. More recently, Adobe has shifted towards digital marketing software. The company boasts about 21,000 employees worldwide, though about 40% of those are working in San Jose.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 33
A whopping 286 million people know about and use PayPal on a regular basis, making it the 22nd largest (by revenue) Fortune 500 company in the United States. The company operates as a payment processor for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial vendors. In short, it serves as an electronic alternative to traditional methods of payment such as checks and money orders.
12. City National Bank
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 43
Headquartered in Southern California, City National Bank is a subsidiary of the Canadian, Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada. The bank, which currently ranks as the 38th largest in the United States, has come to be known as the “Bank of the Stars” because of its many clients in Hollywood and the media.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 48
The 13th best employer in California for diversity is Intuit, a business and financial software company that develops accounting, financial, and tax preparation software for accountants, individuals, and small businesses. Some of Intuit’s best known products include TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Quicken, though the latter was sold to H.I.G. Capital in 2016. Intuit employs about 8,200 professionals, most of whom work in Mountain View.
14. University of California, Davis
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 52
The second University of California school to make our list of the best employers in California for diversity is UC Davis. Located near Sacramento, this public research university is the UC system’s third largest school by enrollment. The university employs approximately 2,100 academic staff and 21,500 administrative staff. Declared a “Public Ivy,” Davis has been included on a slew of “Best American Universities” lists, including those published by Forbes (#88), U.S. News & World Report (#39), and Washington Monthly (#11).
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 53
Most people are familiar with eBay, even if it’s not a company they personally use. The giant, multinational e-commerce company is best known for facilitating consumer-to-consumer sales, but in recent years, it has forayed into business-to-consumer sales, “Buy It Now” shopping, shopping by ISBN or SKU, online ticket trading, and online classifieds, among other things. Headquartered in San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley, eBay employs about 14,000 people.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 58
Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, but not exactly in Silicon Valley, Workday is the professional home of approximately 10,500 people. The company is described as a cloud-based vendor of financial management and human capital management software. Unlike similar companies which sell software outright, Workday sells subscriptions to its services.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 62
VMware is another Silicon Valley-based tech company that is highly respected for its diverse hiring. The company provides cloud computing and virtualization software and services. It was one of the first to successfully virtualize the x86 architecture. More than 30 products exist within the VMware portfolio, including VMware vSphere, VMware Workstation, and VMware Fusion, to name a few. As of 2019, it is estimated that VMware employs about 24,000 employees.
18. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 93
Pacific Gas & Electric — perhaps better known as PG&E — is an investor-owned utilities company. It provides natural gas and electricity to 5.2 million households in Northern California. Headquartered in San Francisco, PG&E employs about 23,000 people.
19. UC Davis Health
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 101
Associated with University of California, Davis (which also makes our list of the best California companies for diversity), UC Davis Health provides the greater Sacramento area with its only academic health center. The organization encompasses a number of facilities, including UC Davis Medical Center, UC Davis School of Medicine, The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, and UC Davis Medical Group. Needless to say, UC Davis Health is a hub of innovation and excellence.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 103
LinkedIn has completely changed the way professionals search for jobs, are recruited, and are hired. The company currently reports 630 million registered members in 150 countries, all of whom access LinkedIn via the website or app. Employers are invited to post job openings, while job seekers post their resumes. The LinkedIn algorithm then connects employers with potential hires. Headquartered in Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area, LinkedIn employs about 15,000 people.
21. The Clorox Company
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 118
Snoop around the cabinets of any home in America, and you’re like to find a Clorox product or two (or five). After all, the company owns a slew of brands, including Clorox bleach, Burt’s Bees, Glad, Tilex, Fresh Step, Formula 409, and Hidden Valley, to name a few. Clorox, a manufacturer of consumer and professional products, is headquartered in Oakland, but employs about 8,700 people worldwide.
22. Trader Joe’s
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 121
Trader Joe’s is a “fresh format” grocery store that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Much of the store’s growing success has to do with its brand-name products, environmentally friendly mission, and its large selection of “alternative” items, such as gluten-free foods and imported foods. There are more than 500 stores nationwide. Monrovia is home to one of two main offices (the other is in Boston).
23. Apple Inc.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 128
Not only is Apple Inc. one of the Big Four technology companies of the world (along with Google, Facebook, and Amazon), it is also one of the most diverse employers in California. Apple designs, develops, and sells computer software, online services, and consumer electronics like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac computer, to name a few.
South San Francisco
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 135
Genentech is a biotechnology company headquartered in South San Francisco. It enjoys a reputation as a pioneering research-driven company. It often collaborates on research with other organizations like 23andMe, Roche, and The Data Incubator. Some of Genentech’s best known products include Avastin, Tamiflu, Valium, and Boniva, among others. About 13,700 people work for Genentech at its headquarters in South San Francisco, and its additional manufacturing facilities in Vacaville (California), Oceanside (California), and Hillsboro (Oregon).
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 147
Facebook is the online social media and social networking service that changed the way people communicate and interact with one another. Based in Menlo Park, Facebook has about 43,000 employees and a whopping 2.45 billion monthly active users.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 149
Anyone who travels knows that AirBnB is an online marketplace for lodging, homestays, and tourism experiences. A unique concept when it was founded in 2008, AirBnB acts as a broker only, and allows homeowners to list their accommodations for others to book a stay. Homes to rent can be found worldwide, though the company itself is based in San Francisco, where it employs approximately 13,000 people.
27. CBRE Group, Inc.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 154
CBRE Group, Inc. is the world’s largest commercial real estate services company, and it’s based in Los Angeles. “Services” include facilities management, property sales and leasing transactions, consulting, and project management, among other things. Interestingly, CBRE — which stands for Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis — has been included in the Fortune 500 every year since 2008. It is currently ranked #146.
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 167
Despite its name, Williams-Sonoma is headquartered in San Francisco, not the wine-making region of Sonoma. Everyone’s favorite kitchenwares and home furnishings company has about 600 stores worldwide, plus a series of websites and gift registries. In addition to the Williams-Sonoma brand, the company owns such brands as Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma Home, Mark and Graham, and Rejuvenation.
29. Bank of the West
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 194
Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, and is headquartered in San Francisco. The financial services company operates more than 600 bank branches throughout the Midwest and western U.S. As of 2020, the company reports having 9,000 employees.
30. Edison International
Ranking on National List of Diverse Companies: 208
Completing our list of the best companies in California for diversity is Edison International. Located in Rosemead, Edison International is a public utility holding company. Edison serves 13 million people in Southern California, and employs about 12,500 people.