20 Best Companies for Multicultural Women

You probably know of Working Mother magazine for its annual list of “100 best companies” that actively recruit and retain those multitasking wonder women known as working moms.

But the magazine for career-committed mothers, which reaches two million readers, also has an annual award to honor companies committed to diversity.

The magazine’s new list honors 20 companies that require manager training on diversity issues and rate manager performance partly on diversity results, such as how many multicultural women advance.

Let’s face it. A lot of companies say they have diversity programs, but not a lot can show metrics as impressive as the companies awarded on this year’s 20 best companies for multicultural women.

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The magazine says these businesses recognize that it’s not just about recruitment. Many use “real” inclusion programs to actively develop, retain, and promote their multicultural employees.

In fact, this year the magazine says it noticed a dramatic increase in the number of women of color who are senior managers. Also, women of color represented 13% of all new hires last year, 14% of all employees, and 7% of top 20% earners at the winning firms.

Here is a snapshot into what makes some of these super-star companies so great:

  • Citi. Thanks to recruiting efforts at schools such as Howard University and partnerships with groups like the National Society of Hispanic MBAs , 28% of new hires last year were women of color, up from 25% in 2006. Even better, 16% of newly hired managers were multicultural women, up from 12%.
  • MetLife. On the list for the third year in a row, one cool feature is its social Global Women’s Leadership Forum that was launched in 2007. In this networking forum, MetLife’s senior women officers and diversity leaders tackle diversity, inclusion, and women’s advancement, and also host webinars and regional meetings.
  • Deloitte. Among leading U.S. accounting firms, it boasts the highest percentage of women partners, principals, and directors. Currently, 84 women of color hold corporate executive positions. The firm offered more than 400 networking, mentoring, and professional development events for women in 2007.
  • IBM. One cool best practice is its “Basic Blue” week-long class that all new managers attend. It includes a three-hour diversity workshop addressing what is expected of managers in today’s global environment. In its “Shades of Blue” class, the company teaches managers about different cultures and values.
  • Pepsico. So many things to note about the beverage giant, run by Indra Nooyi, one of the most powerful women in business. In 2007, PepsiCo’s revenue grew 12%, to $39.5 billion. For the past six years, PepsiCo has focuses on multicultural hiring and retention through its Women of Color Multicultural Alliance. In addition, the company’s “Power Pairs” mentoring program creates relationships between employees and their managers; the turnover rate for women who participate in Power Pairs is half the rate of those who do not.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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