Insights Blog

Racial justice in the workplace: In-depth look at diversity’s struggle to crack corporate boardrooms

By: Charisse Jones, Jayme Fraser, and Dian Zhang, USA TODAY

[Excerpt: Diversity strengthens the bottom line]

A diverse board appeared to help some S&P 500 companies weather the economic downturn sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic better than businesses whose boardrooms were less inclusive, according to a new report.

S&P 500 businesses whose boards were more than 30% people of color experienced a 4% bump in revenue as compared to the previous year, while their peers whose boards were less than 20% people of color saw their revenue dip 2.8%, according to BoardReady, a nonprofit focused on making boards more inclusive.

And companies, where women made up more than 30% of the directors, outperformed those whose boards had fewer women in 11 of the top 15 S&P 500 sectors last year.

“It’s striking that so many aspects of diversity correlated with better performance,” the report’s lead researcher, Rajalakshmi Subramanian, said in a statement announcing the findings. “No matter whether you’re looking at racial diversity, gender diversity, or diversity in age, companies with a broader range of perspectives at the board table did better.”