Top Companies for Women Technologists – FAQ

Below are common questions we receive about Top Companies, grouped by topic.

General Questions
The Technical Workforce
Contact Us

General Questions

How do I apply?

We will start collecting submissions for Top Companies 2019 on April 16, 2019. View the 2019 Instructions.

What do I need to do to prepare my company’s data?

You will need to submit data about your workforce for the current year (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019), as well as information about your programs and policies. Prior year data (April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018) has been pre-populated for existing Top Companies participants and is not required for new participants.

As part of the global 50/50 by 2025 Women’s Tech Equity Strategy, the 2019 Top Companies data collection will include questions about equity policies and programs. These additional questions identify best DEI practices that help companies and the field improve women’s representation, pay, and retention equity to ensure all are treated fairly in the workplace. Because support of women entrepreneurs is so critical to tech equity, we also are including tech venture funding questions for the first time. Please note that the addition of these questions means that numerical sequence of 2018 will appear as questions 5, 6, 8 (omitting question 7 which is now a new question).

Why is there a fee to participate? is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit. The participation fee is used to cover the program costs including the researchers’ time in developing the methodology and providing customized feedback about your application. In 2019, we will offer two levels of participation.

  • Basic Package ($1,000): Includes results and analysis in a basic report.
  • Premium Package ($3,600): Includes results and analysis in a detailed report, plus a group webinar to review comprehensive program results, and an opportunity to participate in Workplace Experience Survey — with deeper analysis of employee satisfaction, providing critical new data to drive DEI Impact for your company.

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Will my company’s participation in the Top Companies program be public?

Yes. In addition to the winners, we will recognize all participating companies in alphabetical order. We believe in recognizing companies that are committed to measuring their progress in building technical workforces that are gender diverse. Companies will be notified of their results in advance of public announcements, and confidential data will never be released without permission. All participants will be able to use a Top Companies badge in their recruiting and other materials, which will be provided to the winners and participants before the Grace Hopper Celebration.

Is my company information confidential? will take all reasonable steps to maintain the security and confidentiality of the application data as described in the Top Companies Initiative Non-Disclosure Agreement, which companies must accept to participate.

Data from each company will be anonymized and aggregated with data from other participating companies. Individual, identifiable company data will not be shared, either publicly or in the confidential, customized reports. Peer benchmarking data will only be shared in aggregated form, and only to the extent that the data can be sufficiently anonymized. Results summarized in custom reports for each company are released solely through the Top Companies program to the designated contacts.

All participating companies will be listed in the confidential, customized reports, and publicly on the website or in marketing or other materials.

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Are there eligibility requirements for the Top Companies for Women Technologist program?

Any privately or publicly held company, including foreign-based companies, may participate in the program provided they have at least 150 technical employees in their U.S.-based workforce.

To ensure the statistical rigor of our analysis, companies must have at least 25 employees at the entry, midcareer, and senior level (men or women) to be eligible for the Top Companies award, but we encourage smaller organizations as they can still be recognized for their participation.

We will consider developing a separate category for companies smaller than 150 technologists in the future. If you are a small startup and interested in helping inform our efforts, please contact us!

Is this only for high-tech companies?

No. connects, inspires and guides all organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Companies that participate have come from a wide range of industries, including high tech, financial services, internet services and media. All companies that employ a significant computing workforce should consider participating. Previous winners have represented a wide range of industries – read more about them.

I work for a government agency or an academic institution. Can we participate?

We compare organizations that are alike in their workforce and structure, so we can provide meaningful analysis. Currently, we do not include academic institutions in that comparison. We have opened up the program to government institutions.

Does my company have to be a sponsor or partner of or can any company participate?

Any company with at least 150 technical employees may apply. The company does not need to be associated with or any of its other programs.

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The Technical Workforce

We are a global company. Why is this award only based on U.S. technical employees?

The technical labor market looks very different across countries, with variances in the number of graduates and the challenges they face in industry at each career level. We believe the results of this program are most meaningful if we focus on specific labor markets. We started with the U.S. technical labor market, and we intend to continue expanding our program to other countries and technical labor markets.

Your definition of “technical” includes individuals who sit outside the engineering function. Why?

Increasing the representation of women in all technical roles is critical to a company’s innovation. Reflecting the constituency of, our definition of the technical workforce consists of all technical occupations in computing and information technology, and is based on position, not department. The definition of technical employees covers four categories: engineering, research and development, and technical design; IT engineering and support; technical services, technical sales and technical marketing; and technical management and leadership. The definition is based on a combination of our previous research, ongoing review with industry leaders, and a detailed review of standardized lists of positions pertaining to technical roles.

Does the data include exempt and non-exempt employees?

Yes, the data includes exempt and non-exempt employees of a company as long as they are in a technical function per the definition. It does not include temporary staff members, regardless of whether they are contracted through a third-party agency or retained directly by the company.

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Methodology receives sponsorship from corporations. How do I know my company will be fairly evaluated? is committed to providing independent evaluation based purely on the metrics submitted by each participating company, regardless of whether the company participates in any other programs or events. The metrics were defined in collaboration with social science experts on gender and organizations, and the evaluation methodology was designed with statistical experts.

What if I’m unable to submit all of the requested data?

The Top Companies program relies on the validity and completeness of the workforce data we collect and analyze. If your organization is unwilling or unable provide a response for one of the metrics, we still invite you to participate in the program. However, you will not be eligible for a Top Companies award. All data that is submitted is treated as confidential and held to the terms of our non-disclosure agreement.

How was Top Companies scored in 2019?

As in prior years, organizations that participate in Top Companies receive a REPRESENTATION SCORE, based on the traditional 7 metrics normalized to Z-scores within the company’s technical workforce size category:

New in 2019 is the BEYOND REPRESENTATION SCORE, which is a score based on 7 selected programs and policies that were guidance from prior Insights Reports, as well as 1 transparency point.

Read more.

Each participating company is scored on 7 metrics. The percentages submitted by companies for each metric are normalized for comparability to companies of similar technical workforce size using a Z-score method. Z-scores are calculated as deviation from the mean divided by the standard deviation. The Representation Score is the sum of all 7 Z-scores and contributes to 80% of the Total Score.


1. Entry level
2. Mid-level
3. Senior level
4. Executive level


5. Recruitment


6. Retentions
7. Advancement


Points are awarded based on responses to 7 selected programs and policies questions and 1 Transparency point. The Transparency point was awarded to companies that completed the Top Companies Application without “Unknown” or “Refused” data entries. Points are scaled linearly to contribute 20% of the Total Score for companies of similar technical workforce size, using a Beyond the Numbers multiplier.

1. Transparency
2. Flex Time Policy
3. Leadership Development Program
4. Gender Diversity Training
5. Sponsorship Program
6. Executive Review of Workforce Diversity Data
7. Formal Policy for Eliminating Gender Bias in Performance Reviews
8. Gender Pay Equity Policy



The Top Companies for Women Technologists Award Winner is the company with the highest Total score for the technical workforce size category.
Top Companies Leaders are the top 25 percentile of each technical workforce size.
Top Companies Participants include all companies that participated in this year’s program.

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Contact the Top Companies team to submit a specific question or to request a change to your contacts.

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