Posted on December 14, 2020

BlackRock to Push Companies on Racial Diversity in 2021

Saijel Kishan, Bloomberg, December 10, 2020

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, plans to next year push companies for greater ethnic and gender diversity for their boards and workforces, and says it will vote against directors who fail to act.

The money manager, which oversees more than $7.8 trillion of assets, is asking U.S. companies to disclose the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of their employees — data known as EEO-1 — as well as measures they’re taking to advance diversity and inclusion, according to a stewardship report released Thursday.

“We are raising our expectations,” New York-based BlackRock said in the report. “An inclusive, diverse and engaged workforce contributes to business continuity, innovation, and long-term value creation.”

Companies are under increasing pressure from investors and advocates to address diversity. State Street Global Advisors, which manages about $3 trillion for clients, has said it will ask companies about their metrics and goals to boost racial diversity within their ranks, while Nasdaq Inc. announced that most companies listed on its U.S. exchange will have to include at least one director who identifies as female and one who identifies as an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has said the firm will no longer take a company public in the U.S. and Europe if it lacks a director who is either female or diverse.


Even as BlackRock pushes other corporations on diversity, it’s own metrics fall short. The company has said 58% of its global workforce was male last year. In the U.S., 58% of employees were White, about a quarter were Asian, 6% were Latinx and 5% were Black. White people held almost 70% of the executive positions, followed by Asians at 22%, Blacks at 4% and Latinx people at 3%.