In a ranking by DiversityInc.com, a Web site devoted to diversity issues, telecommunications conglomerate SBC Communications is rated the top company for diversity, followed by department store Nordstrom and United Parcel Service of America. Both General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. ranked among the top 10 best companies. DiversityInc.com bases its rankings on a host of factors ranging from employment and advancement of people of color to advertising in ethnic media.
Luke Visconti, a DiversityInc.com partner, cites computer and technology companies for "malignant neglect" in targeting multicultural consumers, along with travel and tourism marketers like airlines, cruise lines, hotels and resorts.
"The ad buys and ad spending are not commensurate with the [minority] people who go to major vacation destinations," Mr. Visconti says.
There's no universal standard for diversity. Fortune's own Top 50 diversity ranking is strictly by-the-numbers, tallying the percentage of workers and managers who belong to different minority groups. In fact, the DiversityInc.com and Time Inc.'s Fortune rankings only agree on two of the top 10 best marketers for diversity-SBC and Fannie Mae-and have just 22 of the top 50 in common.
The Fortune 2001 list, for example, included BellSouth Corp. (No. 10), Levi Strauss & Co. (No. 15), U.S. Postal Service (No. 18) and Hyatt Hotels Corp. (No. 19), none of which appears in the other ranking.
DiversityInc.com's ranking is more complex, with 40% of a company's score coming from responses to a questionnaire; 25% from feedback from about 1,000 readers in an e-mail poll; and 35% from a panel of diversity experts. Panelists include Henry Hernandez, executive director-global diversity leadership at Pitney Bowes, and Saul Gitlin, exec VP at Kang & Lee, an Asian-American agency partly owned by WPP Group. Companies were ranked on criteria including supplier diversity programs, advertising in ethnic media, hiring, proportion of minorities and women in management, and whether executive compensation is linked to success of diversity programs.
Barbara Frankel, executive editor of DiversityInc.com, says the panel's three top companies were GM, Ford and SBC; readers' top three were Ford and two other companies.
SBC won its top slot in part because the telco was the best at supplier diversity, with 22% of the total procurement budget supplied by minority- or women-owned companies. SBC also had one of the highest percentages of women in management-48%-topped only by Nordstrom (58%), American Express Co. (53%) and J.C. Penney Co. (50%).
Nordstrom scored highly on linking compensation to diversity initiatives, advertising in ethnic and gay media, and hiring a high percentage of people of color, who totaled 43% of new hires in the previous year, Ms. Frankel says.
At UPS, ranked No. 3, some 25% of management positions are filled by people of color. The panel also cited superior diversity training at the company, including exposing executives to inner city communities.
The car companies, GM and Ford, were singled out for marketing and advertising heavily to ethnic communities. All the top 10 companies, and 39 of the top 50, say they advertised in ethnic media, Ms. Frankel says.