Workforce data still lacking

Good news and bad news on the worker rights front this week. Share Action reports that more companies than ever are disclosing workforce data, yet that data demonstrates there is still a long way to go before employees can said to be treated fairly.
The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) annual survey reveals major improvement in workforce transparency but this has only served to highlight just how big the gap is between executive and worker pay. 141 of the world’s largest listed companies disclosed to WDI in 2020, a 20% increase from the previous reporting cycle. The WDI revealed that participating companies are disclosing more data than before, with respondents completing 61% of the survey on average, up from 40% in 2019.
But, as Share Action says, ‘improvements in transparency do not necessarily reflect improved treatment of workers’. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of companies gave the CEO to median worker pay ratio in 2020, compared to 48% in 2019. But higher levels of information did not equate to lower ratios: the ten companies with the highest pay ratios paid their CEO 200 times more than the median employee, while the top three companies all paid their CEOs over 500 times more than the median employee.
The stats relating to human slavery weren’t much better either. More than nine out of 10 (94%) of respondents commit to preventing forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking from their operations and supply chains, but 10 of these companies could not provide any description of their supply chain.

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