Are Forbes 100 Companies Really Inclusive In Their Recruitment Practices?

August 17, 2022

In recent years, more and more companies of all sizes have been vaunting the benefits of prioritizing diversity and inclusivity in the hiring process – both for society as a whole and for the bottom line.

However, actions speak far louder than words. Do recent developments in hiring practices match the pro-inclusivity rhetoric that is being championed today?

In this short article, we’ll take a look at what is meant by a “Forbes 100” company, how well these companies fare in terms of diversity and inclusivity, the factors that contribute to these results, and what that could mean going forward. In the past few years a lot of debates have arrised on regards to how company can promote their diversity in the moment of recruiting. Job search platform such as Lensa displays this concret and transparent diversity information to the job seeker prior to applying for a certain company.

The Criteria That Makes a Forbes 100 Company

Forbes is quite famous for making lists. Inarguably, their most famous was the now-defunct Forbes 500, which has led to many people associating a Forbes-listed company with the company’s worth and revenue. 

But over recent years, Forbes has branched out with their lists, yet public perception hasn’t quite caught up with the change. Increasingly, some companies are being referred to as “a Forbes 100” company, which can be quite misleading since Forbes compiles a variety of lists, and making one such list depends on a variety of criteria. Some notable Forbes lists include:

  • The World’s Best Employers – based on a survey of 150,000 employees from 58 countries
  • America’s Best Employers for Women – based on a survey of 50,000 employees (30,000 women and 20,000 men) of companies with at least 1,000 employees; the questions asked pertain to working conditions, diversity, parental leave, and pay equity among other factors.
  • America’s Best Employers for Diversity – based on a survey of 30,000 employees and statistics on gender representation in upper management, to name but a few of the criteria

For the majority of their lists, Forbes only takes into consideration companies with over 1,000 employees. Additionally, it bases its results on surveys carried out by the group Statista. Therefore, it is important to remember that inclusion on a Forbes 100 list is based primarily on perception rather than on cold, hard facts.

The Bigger Picture: The Correlation Between Top-Performing Companies and Inclusivity

It should come as no surprise that many of the top companies rated for their success in business (growth, revenue, market share, net worth, etc.) also rank highly for diversity and inclusivity. After all, success largely depends on factors where diversity and inclusivity play a significant role.

  • Strength of public perception
  • Adaptability in a fast-changing business climate
  • Recruiting top talent (therefore, recruiting from a larger talent pool)
  • Inspiring and motivating employees
  • Employee engagement and retention

While the self-interested reasons for companies to adopt a recruiting strategy that incorporates (if not prioritizes) inclusivity and diversity are too numerous to mention here, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the practice has translated into the real world. When a particular action is the right thing to do, the smart thing to do, and the most beneficial thing to do, that doesn’t guarantee it will be done.

Anecdotal Evidence: Trends in the Lists 

Link to the royalty-free image by Mohamed Hassan here

Let’s take a look at the companies listed as top companies in terms of diversity – according to reputable publishers. For example:


The companies that make these lists span a wide variety of sectors – banking, tech, service providers, insurance, and so on. The first major takeaway is that the benefits of diversity and inclusivity are not limited to any specific fields. Certain fields such as IT (including innovations in AI) are well represented. But so are long-standing industries such as banking and insurance.

By perusing these lists, we also notice familiar names such as Woolworths, Sony, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and so on. This leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the benefits of diversity and inclusivity are not limited to new or emerging companies. Well-established brands need to incorporate a recruitment strategy of inclusivity, and they are all the better for it when they do so.

Diversity and Inclusivity: More Than a Question of Numbers

When looking into the successful companies that top the list of most inclusive and diverse – such as Microsoft, Progressive, and Gap, we see a strong correlation between having an inclusive and diverse workforce and showing respect for their employees in ways that go beyond gender and race.Additionally, nowadays there are stricter social and legal bylines to deal with racism in the workplace and demand inclusion.

These companies often share a number of commonalities (besides being successful) that can’t be mere coincidence. For example, these companies provide their employees with day-care services and longer maternity and paternity leaves. these companies also tend to be far more transparent in what they offer and how they carry out recruitment as well as promotion. Why wouldn’t they be? They have something to be proud of, after all. And in this sense, transparency is a good marketing strategy for them.

The correlation is so strong that it provides us with a good indication of how inclusive and diverse a company is likely to be. We don’t need to depend on lists from Forbes to get an idea. 

In a Nutshell

In simplistic terms, to the question: Are Forbes 100 companies really inclusive in their recruitment practices, the answer is “Yes,” but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The way the question is worded can be misleading – and this is important! 

It is not a case of successful companies adopting recruitment strategies that are inclusive. It is more a case of companies that adopt recruitment strategies that are inclusive stand a much greater chance of being successful.

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