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Workforce Disclosure in 2020: Trends and Insights

Workforce disclosure is rapidly improving. 141 of the world’s largest listed companies disclosed to WDI in 2020, a 20 per cent increase from the previous reporting cycle.

Covid-19 has caused the biggest shock to the global economy in living memory. Its impact on working lives has been immense.

The pandemic has cost global workers $3.7 trillion in lost earnings, and many workers were forced to choose between their jobs and their health. Even for those in secure employment there have been significant consequences, from negative mental health outcomes to turning back the clock on gender equality.

As the world looks to rebuild, the fair treatment of workers has never been more important. And while more companies are recognising the importance of disclosing workforce data, our latest findings show that ‘decent work for all’ is still a long way off.

In the wake of Covid-19 more companies see the value of disclosure – but significant gaps remain

Participating companies are also disclosing more data than before. Respondents completed 61 per cent of the survey on average, up from 40 per cent in 2019. On top of this, companies participating in the WDI make three time as much data available than companies that did not complete the survey.

However, there are a number of ways companies still fall short. While data collection is improving, companies still prioritise information on general initiatives over detailed insights into how they are managing their workforce. While this high-level data on actions and commitments is important, it must be backed up with evidence that companies are actually putting these commitments into practice.

Companies recognise the impact of Covid-19 on their workforce but are not yet taking steps to address them

Covid-19 has both highlighted and exacerbated society’s inequalities. Yet our data shows companies are still slow to address the rich, poor divide. Some 74 per cent of companies reported the CEO to median worker pay ratio this year. Yet this did not equate to lower rations. The ten companies with the highest pay ratio paid their CEO some 200 times more than the median employee. At the top three companies this rose to 500 times.

Diversity is in the spotlight, but companies lack the data necessary to implement their touted pledges

Detail was also lacking on discrimination and harassment practices, where 96 per cent of companies provided data on their policies, but only 41 per cent could report the number of incidents reported and just 35 per cent disclosed the number of incidents that were resolved.

List of participating companies