Company is 4th Fortune 500 Company to Take Additional Step of Disclosing Fuller Gender and Race-Related Pay Gap Data in Response to Arjuna Capital Shareholder Advocacy
The investment management firm Arjuna Capital is withdrawing a 2021 shareholder resolution calling on Adobe to provide median race and gender pay gap disclosures since the company has agreed to provide the gender data now. Arjuna has requested the same data on Adobe’s median racial pay gap be reported before 2022.
The step announced today makes Adobe the first U.S. tech company to disclose unadjusted median gender pay gap data, which is a more stringent measure than statistically adjusted gender pay gap data.
In taking the step, Adobe joins an elite group of companies that have made more detailed pay gap disclosures at the request of Arjuna Capital. Earlier this year, Mastercard and Starbucks responded to Arjuna Capital’s median race and gender pay equity resolutions and made the requested disclosures. The first company to agree to such a resolution from Arjuna Capital was Citigroup in January 2019.
Best-practice pay equity reporting consists of two approaches: (1) unadjusted median pay gaps, assessing “equal opportunity” to high-paying roles, which is a tougher and more revealing standard; and (2) statistically adjusted gaps, assessing pay between minorities and non-minorities, men and women, performing similar roles—also known as “equal pay for equal work.” Citigroup, Mastercard, and Starbucks are making median racial and gender pay equity disclosures under the tougher first approach and are now joined by Adobe on gender. Since 2016, Arjuna has compelled gender pay gap disclosures (the second approach) at 22 companies, and race pay gap disclosures at 17 companies, including leading U.S. tech, finance, and retail firms Apple, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Nike and Adobe.
Arjuna Capital is an investor champion of workplace concerns for women and minorities. In the 2020 proxy season, Arjuna Capital submitted a total of 13 shareholder resolutions seeking median race and gender pay equity disclosure.
Pay inequity persists across race and gender. Black workers’ hourly median earnings, adjusted for inflation, have fallen 3.6 percent since 2000, representing 75.6 percent of white workers’ wages. The median income for women working full-time in the United States is 80 percent that of men.
Adobe previously reported parity for statistically adjusted pay gaps but ignored unadjusted median gaps. With this new disclosure, Adobe now reports the unadjusted median pay gap for women is 1.2 percent, with women making 98.8 percent the median pay of men, globally. Significantly, Adobe has agreed to provide annual reporting of the same data.
Natasha Lamb, managing partner, Arjuna Capital, said: “Adobe deserves recognition for this important step to meet the gold standard of diversity and inclusion disclosure: median race and gender pay gap reporting. The question that remains is which of America’s other bellwether companies will be leaders and which will hold this data close to the vest. The push for median race and gender pay equity is going to be a major issue in the 2021 shareholder season. We need more companies to follow Adobe’s lead, prioritize diversity in a meaningful way, and step forward with an honest accounting of pay equity.”
Citigroup estimates that closing U.S. minority and gender wage gaps 20 years ago could have generated 12 trillion dollars in additional national income and contributed 0.15 percent to United States GDP per year. PwC estimates closing the gender pay gap could boost Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries’ economies by 2 trillion dollars annually.