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Diversifying for Potential

As it seeks to increase diversity and inclusion in its workplace, Visa is targeting professional development, examining workplace demographics and pay equity, and expanding recruitment efforts.

July 2020

Visa is working to ensure a more diverse and inclusive workplace. This multinational financial technology giant is undertaking several professional development initiatives for employees as it seeks to mirror the diversity of its market. This will also help it tap a broader array of talent and competitive opportunities.

These moves are important to us at Sands Capital, where our six investment criteria tend to lead us to businesses that are innovators or vital facilitators of change in industries undergoing significant transformation. Visa is one of many portfolio businesses that create impact by addressing at least one major social and environmental challenge identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Visa directly addresses SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities.

Visa’s diversity and inclusion initiatives are overseen by the company’s executive committee. The company is committed to tracking and annually disclosing its workforce demographics and pay equity, because it views expanding diversity and inclusion as a “strategic business imperative.” Its numbers show its progress. Women account for 41 percent of its global workforce and 31 percent of leadership positions worldwide. In the U.S., women make up 41 percent of the workforce and 33 percent of leadership positions. Visa performs well on a global pay parity basis: Its racial and ethnic minorities earn $1.02 for every $1.00 earned by white employees doing similar work.

Visa is also examining diversity at the managerial level. For instance, 42 percent of its U.S. workforce is white, but 65 percent of the U.S. leadership is white. Asian employees account for 38 percent of the U.S. workforce, but 19 percent of U.S. management. Hispanics account for 11 percent of the U.S. workforce and the same percentage of U.S. management. Black employees make up 6 percent of the U.S. workforce and 4 percent of U.S. leadership.

To recruit a more diverse workforce, Visa works with several organizations, including Code2020, National Society of Black Engineers, National Society of Hispanic Engineers, Upwardly Global, Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, Women in Payments, Out and Equal, and the Global Woman Leaders Conference.

In its effort to maintain a high-level commitment to supporting women in its workforce, Visa, in 2018, established a Gender Inclusion Council with 20 leaders around the world. The group regularly meets to discuss case studies and real-life work scenarios for women. Another professional development program, the Diversity & Inclusion College at Visa University, guides employees in examining how diversity and inclusion affects the workplace. In 2019, all managers in supervisory roles were expected to participate in an Inclusive Leadership Training program within the Diversity & Inclusion College.

Externally, Visa has sought to empower women through its marketing efforts. The company sponsored the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup, becoming the first sponsor of women’s soccer within the Union of European Football Associations. Other marketing campaigns and initiatives are specific to helping women access financial services, such as “She’s Next, Empowered by Visa” and “Money is Changing” to offer financial literacy education and guides.

The company takes its efforts one step further by encouraging diversity and inclusion among its vendors. Visa’s Supplier Diversity Program encourages existing suppliers to work with smaller and diverse sources within supply chains, as well as encouraging such entities to become official suppliers to Visa.


The business profiled was selected based on its reported alignment with one or more U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

The views expressed are the opinion of Sands Capital Management and are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendations, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The views expressed were current as of the date indicated and are subject to change. Past performance is not indicative of future results. A company’s fundamentals or earnings growth is no guarantee that its share price will increase. Forward earnings projections are not predictors of stock price or investment performance, and do not represent past performance. The specific securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold, or recommended for advisory clients. There is no assurance that any security will continue to be owned by Sands Capital Management. You should not assume that any investment is or will be profitable. All company logos and website images are used for illustrative purposes only and were obtained directly from the company websites. Company logos and website images are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners and use of a logo does not imply any connection between Sands Capital and the company. GIPS®-compliant presentations and additional disclosures for the related composites may be found at Sands Capital Annual Disclosure Presentation.

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