Corporate Disclosure of Human Capital Metrics. Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School. Publisher's VersionAbstract. 10/19/2017.
We find majorities or significant minorities of the largest global corporations collect a variety of human capital (HC) metrics of increasing interest to institutional investors. These averages mask a sharp dichotomy between metrics disclosed publicly and those reported by respondents to an annual survey of nearly 2,000 of the largest firms traded on global exchanges. For example, about half of these companies report the average hours of training they provided to employees annually. But the figure was dramatically higher for respondents, at 84 percent, versus just 18 percent of firms assessed using public reporting. Similarly, while 52 percent of firms publicly report employee fatalities, 96 percent of survey respondents disclosed the metrics, but only 17 percent of publicly assessed companies. Comparable differentials were found across other measures. The findings suggest that investors could gain access to HC data that is material to financial performance if they request public disclosure of information already gathered by a critical mass of large corporations in major markets. However, the reporting differs among regions and countries such as the United States and Great Britain, as well as between large market cap companies compared with smaller ones.