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NYSE Adds Pay Equity, Opportunity Tracking Tools in ESG Push

A pedestrian outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, on Monday, July 18, 2022. US stocks fell amid a drop in big tech as investors assessed the outlook for corporate profits and risks to economic growth as central banks hike interest rates to combat runaway inflation. Photographer: Jonathan Alpeyrie/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) —

The New York Stock Exchange is adding tools for its publicly listed companies to track how they’re doing on equality in the workforce amid a broader push to take action on ESG issues.

NYSE has partnered with workplace equity platform Syndio to offer companies tools that measure pay and opportunity gaps. As NYSE members, firms will have access to Syndio’s software to help them identify potential biases. 

“The social element of ESG has been harder to support and is often less defined for companies, but an area of increasing focus at the board level, among employees, and with legislatures and regulators,” Michael Blaugrund, NYSE’s chief operating officer, said in an interview. “Having the tools to better measure and understand their workplace equity issues is going to increasingly become table stakes.”

The vast majority of US companies don’t disclose whether they’re analyzing the gender pay gap among their employees, with even fewer publicly sharing what that gap is, a March study found. Citigroup Inc. was the first major financial services firm to report its median pay gap voluntarily in the US and is one of about a dozen large companies to do so now. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, median earnings for women in 2021 were 83.1% of the same for men.

“Our approach towards issues of listed company diversity is to give companies the tools and, for ourselves, to provide the support so companies can make real progress,” Blaugrund said. That’s preferred to “announcing an arbitrary quota or some sort of other performative act.”

Read More: NYSE Develops Asset Class Tied to Sustainability Amid ESG Push

Starting later this year, NYSE-listed companies will have to pay for the platform which includes analysis of compensation and hiring plans. Employers can integrate Syndio’s platform directly into their HR systems to analyze race, gender and ethnicity to assess if there’s equal pay and opportunity to advance within the company, Syndio Chief Executive Officer Maria Colacurcio said. 

Companies have increasingly focused on environmental, social and governance in their own business and investments amid mounting political pressure to do better. The issue has been polarizing and some metrics have been criticized for being hard to quantify, and at times with scant penalty when targets fall short.

Last year, NYSE developed a class of publicly traded assets tied to services that are beneficial to the environment. Services for companies, including investor relations support and board management, can provide additional revenue for exchanges when other business lines see a slowdown. The recent bouts of market turmoil sapped appetite for traditional IPOs and SPAC deals that would otherwise bring new companies to public exchanges like NYSE and Nasdaq Inc.

–With assistance from Jeff Green.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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