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The 30 Best Employers in America for Diversity 2020

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In this era of #MeToo, harassment claims, and discrimination allegations, large companies are officially under the microscope when it comes to the diversity of their workforce. Earlier this year, Forbes and the data analysis organization Statista teamed up to find out which of America’s companies could be considered the most diverse employers. To accomplish this, more than 50,000 U.S.-based employees were surveyed, and the boards and top executive teams of various companies were examined. The results are quite surprising. From universities, to insurance companies, to utilities providers, these are the 30 best employers in America for diversity.

1. Ball Corporation

Broomfield, Colorado

Headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, the Ball Corporation is perhaps most famous for the glass jars and lids they manufactured during the company’s earliest years. Today, the Ball brand mason jars and other canning supplies belong to a spin-off company, though the Ball Corporation remains a powerhouse in the packaging industry. Indeed, the Ball Corporation is the largest manufacturer of recyclable metal beverage and food containers in the world. In recent years, the company has also expanded into aerospace technology.

2. Nielsen Holdings

New York City, New York

Fans of television may recognize Nielsen Holdings as the name behind the ratings system which determines whether your favorite shows are renewed for another season or canceled. Of course, determining the number of people tuning into a particular program is just one aspect of all that Nielsen does. The company is headquartered in New York City. It’s an information, data, and measurement firm operating in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the American Marketing Associated declared Nielsen #1 in its ranking of the “50 Market Research Firms in the United States.”

3. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Third on the list of America’s best companies for diversity is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, a branch of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). BCBSA is a collection of 36 different health insurance companies and organizations which collectively insure more than 106 million people. Specifically, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee insures 3.5 million residents of Tennessee. It serves 11,000 employer groups in the state, and is connected with nearly 30,000 health care providers statewide.

4. Kent State University

Kent, Ohio

Kent State University is an Ohio-based public research university serving nearly 40,000 students on seven regional campuses (29,000 of those study at the school’s main campus in the city of Kent). The university employs nearly 10,000 academic and administrative staff, and ranks as the fourth best U.S. employer for diversity. Impressively, Kent State University has also been included on:

  • Forbes’s rankings of the Best Employers for Women 2019 (#46)
  • America’s Best Employers by State 2019
  • America’s Best Midsize Employers 2017 (#170).

5. Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Boston, Massachusetts

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a large biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Boston, and research centers in San Diego, California and Oxfordshire, England. Founded in 1989, Vertex was one of the first companies of its kind to employ a strategy of rational drug design instead of combinatorial chemistry. In other words, it found new medications based on the knowledge of a biological target. Over the years, Vertex has produced a number of notable pharmaceuticals and treatments, including:

  • Telaprevir, an oral treatment for hepatitis C
  • Kalydeco
  • Orkambi

The latter two are used to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis.

6. Netflix

Los Gatos, California

A household name at this point, Netflix is a media-services provider and production company based in the Bay Area. More than 148 million households worldwide — including 60 million U.S. households — subscribe to Netflix to access streaming shows and movies. In recent years, Netflix has expanded into a film production company and is now producing “Netflix Originals.” Interestingly, Netflix has become a regular at the most prestigious award shows, often beating out other successful networks like HBO and Showtime. In addition to its Los Gatos headquarters, Netflix operates offices in Brazil, India, Japan, the Netherlands, and South Korea.

7. University of California, Irvine

Irvine, California

UC Irvine is one of 10 branches of the University of California system, but is the only one to make our list of America’s best employers for diversity. Considered to be a “Public Ivy,” UC Irvine employs more than 11,000 academic and administrative staff on its 1,500-acre suburban campus. In addition to this list, UC Irvine has also been included on:

  • Forbes’ rankings of America’s Best Employers by State 2019
  • America’s Best Employers 2019 (#40)
  • America’s Best Midsize Employers 2018 (#14).

8. Penguin Random House

New York City, New York

In 2013, successful publishing companies Penguin Group and Random House combined to form Penguin Random House, the eighth best company in America for diversity. Though headquartered in New York City, Penguin Random House has offices worldwide, and employs about 10,000 people globally. The company publishes around 15,000 titles each year under its 250 different imprints and divisions. Forbes has also ranked Penguin Random House the #2 best midsize employer in America for 2019, and the 58th best employer for women in 2018.

9. SAP

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Short for ”Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung” — that’s “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing” for those non-German speakers. SAP is a German software corporation which produces software to manage business operations and customer relations. Though the company’s global headquarters are located in Germany, it operates 180 regional offices worldwide, one of which is located in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. In line with SAP’s record as an employer of diversity, the company has launched an initiative to hire employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders. SAP has vowed that by 2020, 1% of its workforce will be made up of people with autism.

10. Visa Inc.

Foster City, California

Visa is easily one of the most widely recognized brands in America, if not the world. Employing about 17,000 people worldwide and headquartered near San Francisco, Visa facilitates the transfers of electronic funds via credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards. According to the Nilson Report, a publication which routinely tracks the credit card industry, Visa processes more than 100 billion transactions each year. A highly respected company, Visa has been named on:

  • Forbes’s lists of the Top Regard Companies 2019 (#1)
  • the World’s Most Valuable Brands 2019 (#25)
  • America’s Best Employers 2019 (#138), to name but a few.

11. Lubrizol

Wickliffe, Ohio

Headquartered in Wickliffe, Ohio, the Lubrizol Corporation is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. It’s best known as a provider of specialty chemicals, specifically for the consumer market, and transportation and industrial industries. Its products are added to:

  • various medical devices
  • personal care products
  • pharmaceuticals
  • and plastics, among other things.

12. KPMG

New York City, New York

The New York-based KPMG LLC is the United States member firm of KPMG International, headquartered in the Netherlands. The company is one of the Big Four accounting firms, and offers three lines of service:

  • financial advisory
  • financial audit
  • tax

Approximately 207,000 people are employed by KPMG worldwide.

13. Medical University of South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) was established in 1824 as a small college for training physicians. Today, it’s a successful public medical school, and the 13th best employer in America for diversity. MUSC remains one of the oldest continually operating medical schools in the country, and the oldest in the South. Making up the university are:

  • a public hospital
  • a research center
  • six colleges for various roles within the medical field.

14. The Hartford

Hartford, Connecticut

Appropriately located in Hartford, Connecticut, The Hartford is a financial services group which focuses on investments and insurance. The company is the country’s 12th largest property and casualty company, and sells its products through a network of brokers and agents. About 16,500 people are employed by The Hartford, which also ranks #55 on Forbes’s list of the Best Employers for New Grads 2019.

15. Buzzfeed

New York City, New York

Anyone who is active on social media is likely familiar with BuzzFeed, a popular media, news, and entertainment company. Founded in New York in 2006, BuzzFeed covers everything from online quizzes and listicles, to serious long-form journalism. That last fact might come as a surprise to some, considering a survey by Pew Research Center found that the vast majority of people in the U.S. do not view BuzzFeed as a reliable source. Despite such a perception, in 2018 alone BuzzFeed News won the National Magazine Award and the George Polk Award. It was a finalist for the Michael Kelly Award and even the Pulitzer Prize.

16. Salesforce.com

San Francisco, California

Salesforce is the 16th best employer in America for diversity. The company has also been ranked by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018. Salesforce is a cloud-based software company. Though it is best known for its customer-relationship management service, the company also offers myriad other services, including:

  • Lightning Platform
  • Work.com
  • AppExchange
  • myTrailhead, to name but a few.

Currently, Salesforce employs about 35,000 people.

17. The Walt Disney Co.

Burbank, California

As most people know, The Walt Disney Co. is a massively successful family entertainment and media conglomerate headquartered in Southern California. Four business segments make up the company:

  • Parks & Resorts
  • Media Networks
  • Studio Entertainment
  • Consumer Products & Interactive Media

Collectively, these four segments own and operate theme parks and resorts worldwide, produce live-action and animated film and television, publishes games and books, and much, much more. More than 200,000 people are employed by The Walt Disney Co. worldwide.

18. New York Life

New York City, New York

More than 11,000 employees and 12,000 agents are employed by New York Life, the 18th best employer in the U.S. for diversity. The company is the third largest life insurance company in the country. It offers a variety of products besides life insurance, including:

  • asset management
  • annuities
  • long-term care

New York Life is currently ranked 69th on the Fortune 500 list of the largest American corporations by total revenue.

19. Mount Sinai Health System

New York City, New York

Mount Sinai Health System is a New York City-based hospital network. It was founded as recently as 2013 — the result of a merger between Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners. The health system employs about 42,000 employees, including around 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians. It is estimated that in any given year, Mount Sinai Health System’s seven hospitals and 13 ambulatory surgical centers:

  • admit nearly 137,000 people as inpatients
  • treat 501,000 Emergency Department visits
  • deliver nearly 15,000 babies.

20. Sempra Energy

San Diego, California

Sempra Energy is a large energy infrastructure company headquartered in San Diego. The company deals mostly with electric and natural gas infrastructure. It operates such subsidiaries as:

  • San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)
  • Oncor Electric Delivery Company

It also operates others in California, Texas, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. Sempra employs around 20,000 people, and serves another 40 million people around the globe.

21. Stanford University

Stanford, California

Stanford University is a top-ranked institution of higher education located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Indeed, known for its academic strength and wealth, Stanford is almost always considered one of the best universities in the world. The university employs about 2,200 academic staff and nearly 13,000 administrative staff. Stanford been recognized as being one of the best employers for diversity, Forbes has also ranked it as one of the:

  • Best Employers for Women 2019 (#136)
  • Best Employers for New Grads 2018 (#34)
  • America’s Best Employers 2019 (#7).

22. The Procter & Gamble Company

Cincinnati, Ohio

Often shortened to just P&G, The Procter & Gamble Company is a multinational consumer goods corporation specializing in personal care and hygiene products. It owns myriad brands which are household names, including, among others:

  • Bounty
  • Crest
  • Dawn
  • Downy
  • Febreze
  • Gain
  • Tide

Though headquartered in Cincinnati, Proctor & Gamble has manufacturing operations in nearly 30 countries. The company employs almost 100,000 people.

23. Big Y Foods, Inc.

Springfield, Massachusetts

Big Y Foods, Inc. is a family-owned chain of 77 supermarkets in Connecticut and Massachusetts. It’s one of the largest independently owned grocery store chains in New England. With more than 12,000 employees, it’s the 268th biggest private company in America.

24. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is a teaching hospital and level 1 trauma center associated with University of Iowa. Located in Iowa City, the hospital is the state’s only comprehensive tertiary-level medical center. Therefore, it often treats both local patients and those referred to them with complex injuries or illnesses. More than 7,000 people are employed by University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

25. UCLA Health

Los Angeles, California

UCLA Health consists of multiple hospitals and care centers throughout the Los Angeles area. Affiliated with University of California, Los Angeles, these hospitals and care centers are considered academic medical centers. In addition to covering approximately two million lives, UCLA Health also runs Operation Mend, a program through which military veterans wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq may receive top-level care.

26. Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, New York

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is the 10th largest private university in the United States. It’s known worldwide for its degree programs in art, computer science, and engineering. RIT enrolls nearly 20,000 students at any given time. More than 2,500 administrative staff are employed, as are 1,500 academic staff. It’s also home to the “revolutionary” National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which is committed to providing equal opportunities to the more than 1,000 students at RIT who are deaf or hard of hearing.

27. Marriott International

Bethesda, Maryland

Marriott International is a multinational hospitality company which manages and franchises a massive selection of hotels and other facilities worldwide. With 30 brands under its name, and more than 7,000 properties spanning 131 countries and territories, Marriott International is the third largest hotel chain in the world. It’s appeared on Fortune/s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” a whopping 20 times. It’s currently ranked #33, which  great news for the approximately 176,000 people employed by Marriott around the world.

28. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City, is the flagship school in the University of Utah system. It is a top-ranked research university, and as such, sees upwards of $380 million each year in research expenditures. More than 32,000 students attend University of Utah, and nearly 30,000 staff members are employed by the school, including those working in the university’s four hospitals.

29. Cox Enterprises

Atlanta, Georgia

Cox Enterprises is a private global conglomerate which operates such well-known subsidiaries as Cox Automotive, Cox Communications, and Cox Media Group. Collectively, Cox Enterprises owns and manages a number of brands, including:

  • Kelley Blue Book
  • AutoTrader
  • Gamut
  • Cox Homelife

Across the conglomerate, more than 55,000 people are employed by the company.

30. The Pacific Gas & Electric Company

San Francisco, California

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company — 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.