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

General Questions

  • How do I apply?

    We will start collecting submissions for Top Companies in the Spring of 2021. View the 2021 instructions here.

  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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 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.


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.


  • 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 to provide a response to 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. All companies that meet the minimum standard for participation will be recognized as Top Companies Participants. 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 2020?

    The Top Companies Total Score is based on two scoring sections: Representation and Beyond Representation.


    The Representation Score is, based on seven (8) representation 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 eights Z-scores and contributes to 80% of the Total Score.

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

    1. Recuritment
    2. Voluntary Retention
    3. Involuntary Retention
    4. Advancement

    The Beyond Representation Score is based on responses to seventeen programs and policies selected to promote structural equity, as well as 1 transparency point.

    Thirteen (13) Beyond Representation Points are awarded based on responses to seventeen (17) 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 “Decline to Respond” 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.

    Transparency (1 pt)
    • Awarded for providing answers to all main, non-conditional questions
    • “Unknown” or “Decline” responses are disqualified

    Caregiver Leave (2 pts)
    • 1 pt if at least 12 weeks of maternity leave provided or .5 pts if 8-11 weeks
    • 1 pt if at least 12 weeks of additional parent leave provided or .5 pts if 8-11 weeks

    Flex Time (1 pt)
    • 1 pt if company has flex time policy

    Accountability (2 pts)
    • 1 pt if company has formal policy to eliminate gender bias in performance reviews
    • 1 pt if company reviews workforce diversity data monthly or .5 if quarterly

    Pay Equity (1.5 pts)
    • 1 pt is company has pay equity by gender policy
    • .5 pt if company conducted pay equity analysis in 12-month period

    EEO-1 (.5 pt)
    • .5 pt if company makes EEO-1 report public

    Leadership Development (1 pt)
    • 1 pt if company offers formal leadership development program

    Training & Education (1 pt)
    • .5 pt if company offers gender diversity training
    • .25 pt if training includes unbiasing hiring process
    • .25 pt if training includes unbiasing performance management process

    Career Sponsorship
    (1 pt)
    • .5 pt if company offers formal sponsorship program for women
    • .5 pt if program includes senior-level women

    Company Leadership (1 pt)
    • 1 pt if Board of Directors is at least 50% women or .5 pt if 20%-49%

    Empowerment (1 pt)
    • .5 pt if company conducts culture survey
    • .5 pt if company has ERGs


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

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