Research Methodology

Primary and secondary research was gathered to obtain the information required to identify the most qualified companies for the 50 OUT FRONT: Best Places for Diverse Women & Diverse Managers to Work list. We are open to sharing our approach and methods to ensure transparency and credibility to all participants.

I) Primary Data Research Method

We partnered with DePaul University Marketing Department to develop, design and administer our survey for the first five years. This allowed us to further improve our quality and integrity of our survey responses and to ensure complete privacy and protection of proprietary data. Then we partnered with The Chicago School of Psychology to help us define questions to uncover practices that occur within the culture.

The questionnaire was designed to meet the research objectives above mentioned. However, we recognized that the survey must be quick, easy to complete and thorough enough to meet our research objectives so a closed4 ended questionnaire was designed with open ended questions.1 The survey was administered to 750 companies via third party research online technology, in 2016 we received a 70% overall response rate.2 659 companies registered; 329 companies completed 80% of the survey; and the top 100 companies were evaluated for ranking.

Selection Criteria

The research criteria used in analyzing the research data is as follows:

  1. At least 30% (U.S. American population3) of management staff must be people of color and/or women.
  2. The company must have a well-defined succession plan that includes intentional objectives to recruit, retain and advance people of color and women.
  3. The company must actively and intentionally recruit people of color and women with a built- in process for accountability.
  4. Companies must exceed and/or meet the mean for representation in the areas of women and people of color in management positions.
  5. The company’s focus on diversity must be a part of the strategic direction of the entire organization.
  6. The company must have a clearly defined diversity training programs.
  7. The company must have internal programs that focus on retention and development to support cultural sustainability.

A scale methodology approach was utilized.

Rating Scale Key for Company Participants:

  • Representation
  • Workplace Inclusion
  • Retention
  • Accountability
  • Succession planning
  • Recruitment
  • Board Diversity

Each company was assigned points based upon these criteria and was then sorted from high to low score to come up with the total points. The weighted categories applied. Those companies that did not meet minimum criteria or complete 80% of the survey were excluded from the list altogether.

If our results identify less than 50 qualified companies we rely on lists from other reputable sources to meet our requirement; thus, the use of secondary data. We pulled lists from other publications, evaluated those companies’ diversity & inclusion programs; public information and included them in our ranking criteria to create the complete 50 Out Front List. We invite those companies to complete additional information on the survey. We have a 95 percent acceptance ratio.

II) Secondary Research Approach

Although the response rate was above the national average for mail questionnaires, we wanted to test our results with other leading magazine publications that conduct research on ‘best of’ companies. (lists on Diversity, Women and Best of Lists), Fortune 100, Diversity Inc. Working Mothers Media, Catalyst and HACR and Human Rights Organization provided lists of top companies on various aspects of diversity that we consider reputable. We identified the companies that were named on two or more list from the magazines, in addition to their company profiles on diversity and used them in our ranking process. It is important to note that many of the companies named in these highly credible magazines were also identified by Diversity MBA Magazine as a ‘best of’ diversity company.

The purpose of this research was to supplement and substantiate our primary research with other sources that were conducting the same kind of research. Secondly, we believe that benchmarking the work of other leading industry publications helps to increase the credibility of our research. Less than 5% of the companies on our list are from secondary research (and does not occur every year).

For more information on Diversity MBA Magazine’s methodology, please contact Pam McElvane, publisher and publisher at 773-468-3231 or

Privacy Policy

Diversity MBA Magazine (DMBA) conducts an annual survey to gather, collect, and analyze data for the purpose of benchmarking self reported results of Fortune 1000 companies to determine the best companies for women and diverse managers to work.

DePaul University partnered with DMBA for 7 years to ensure privacy, creditability and integrity of our process and data. Today, DMBA has in house capability to manage the survey process. Survey Monkey Premier level provides DMBA the privacy and security measurements required for distribution and capture of data. The information for this survey is explicitly used for the ranking of 50 Out Front Companies: Best Places to Work for Women and Diverse Managers, which is confidential, and remains proprietary to the company who submits the survey.

The results of the benchmark report that is shared with those who participate in the survey are provided in the aggregate exclusively. We also do not retain company information in our system for more than 12 months. The data is systematically deleted.

We do not share names of companies that do not make the list. This is proprietary to Diversity MBA and the company participating; we leave this component to the company to share their participation.

This is our practice on how we manage privacy and confidential information.

Please feel free to contact me with additional questions at 773-468-3231 or email me at