Top Companies for Women Technologists – FAQ

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

General Questions
The Technical Workforce
Workplace Experience Survey
Contact Us

General Questions

How do I apply?

We will start collecting submissions for Top Companies 2020 on April 6, 2020.  View the 2020 Instructions.

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

All participants must submit data for the current year. Prior year data is pre-populated for existing Top Companies participants. New participants will also need to collect prior year representation data.

Prior Year: April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Current Year: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

You will need to submit data about the representation of your workforce, as well as information about your programs and policies.

Companies may begin preparing their company’s data using the Top Companies Instructions and Data Template.

What are the costs and benefits of participation? 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.

Top Companies is included in the benefits of Corporate Partnership with The cost is $1500 for non-Partners and includes:

  • An individual report with your results and analysis benchmarking your company against other similar sized companies on all Top Companies metrics.
  • A group call to collectively review the aggregated program results.
  • Opportunity to receive awards.
    • All Participants receive a Top Companies Participant electronic badge to acknowledge their commitment to measuring their technical workforce and gaining a deeper understanding of women in their company. Companies that score in the top 25th percentile for each size category receive an additional badge, recognizing them as a Top Companies Leader. The company in each size category with the highest total score is recognized as a Top Companies Winner.
  • Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) Recognition:
    • Participants who are also sponsors at GHC will receive a sign at the career hall designating their status as a Top Company for Women Technologists Participant, Leader, and/or Winner.
    • Companies will be designated as a Top Companies participant on the GHC mobile app.
    • Winners are announced during the GHC Keynote.
  • Public Recognition:
    • Public acknowledgement of participation on the Key Insights Report
    • Press releases announcing Leaders and Winners

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

Yes. In addition to the Winners and Leaders, 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, Leaders, and Participants before 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 portal to the designated contacts.

We will list participating companies alphabetically in the confidential reports, publicly on the website, and in marketing collateral or other materials. We will notify companies of their status prior to public announcements.

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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 levels (men or women) to be eligible for any Top Companies awards, but we encourage smaller organizations to participate, as they can still be recognized for their participation and will receive all other benefits of 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 at least 150 technical employees 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 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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What are the relevant dates for participating in Top Companies 2020?

Our Top Companies for Women Technologists 2020 Timeline is as follows:

March 10, 2020 Companies can begin preparing their submission using the Top Companies Instructions and Template.
March 16, 2020 Top Companies is available for purchase to non-Partners on our E-commerce site.
April 6, 2020 will begin accepting submissions through the Top Companies Portal.
May 29, 2020 Submissions close.
August 24, 2020 Participants notified of award status and badges.
September 23, 2020 2020 Key Insights Report published highlighting findings of study and showcasing Participants and Leaders.
September 25, 2020 Participants receive individual reports benchmarking them against aggregated data.
September 29, 2020 Top Companies Winners announced on main stage at GHC.

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. In 2020, we are expanding our program to India, 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. Refer to the Definitions page for detailed descriptions and examples of these categories.

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 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. A few questions are required in order to be publicly recognized as a Top Companies Participant, and others are required to be eligible for a Top Companies award. However, all companies who submit data will still receive an individual benchmarking report, regardless of the data completeness. Review the Top Companies Instructions for details about which questions are required to be recognized as a Participant and which are required to be eligible for an award.

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 seven (7) selected programs and policies that were guidance from prior Key Insights Reports, as well as 1 transparency point.

Read more.

Each participating company is scored on seven (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 seven 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 seven (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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Workplace Experience Survey

What is the Workplace Experience Survey?

The Workplace Experience Survey is an optional survey add-on available to Corporate Partners. The survey consists of five (5) items covering employee experiences and perceptions of equity, belonging, and inclusion in the workplace.

How is the survey administered?

The Workplace Experience Survey can be included in your company’s upcoming employee engagement/culture survey or can be administered by directly to your employees. In either situation, you company agrees to share the disaggregated data for these five items with for analysis.

When will the survey be administered?

If you choose to have administer the survey to your employees, the survey can be administered anytime between May 2020 and November 2020. The survey will remain open to your employees for 30 days. If you choose to include the survey items in your upcoming employee engagement/culture survey, the survey will be administered according to those dates.

Who is surveyed in the Workplace Experience Survey?

Your entire U.S.-based workforce is surveyed, including all technical and nontechnical staff. Survey participation should be entirely optional to all employees.

What is the purpose of the Workplace Experience Survey?

While representation data is the foundation to the Top Companies for Women Technologists program, inclusive cultures are critical to keeping women at your organization and in the technical field. With the Workplace Experience Survey, you can move beyond the numbers and listen to employee voices to better support meaningful technology careers and technology for all.

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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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