Fostering mutual trust and respect for one another is a cornerstone of being an inclusive and welcoming workplace—one that is well-positioned to serve our customers and communities.
It’s also important that our workforce reflect the diverse customers and neighbors that make up our communities. Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) are fundamental values, as described in our Code of Conduct. In 2019, Waste Management maintained or increased representation of minority groups compared to peer industries in all categories, identified senior leadership sponsors for diversity initiatives and assembled diverse candidate slates for positions at the Area Vice President level and above.
I choose to be a part of the solution. I choose to raise my voice. I choose to put people first. Jim Fish, CEO
In response to the growing acknowledgment of racial injustice in the United States, we launched a new page on the Waste Management website that includes candid conversations between Waste Management leaders about how we are responding and what we must do as a company to move forward. We are also evaluating our policies, practices and procedures to ensure equity. In 2020, we launched an I&D Leadership Council made up of cross-functional leaders appointed by the senior leadership team (SLT) that will act as change champions and ensure our I&D efforts are tied to the business strategy and are sustainable. Enterprise results will be reported to the SLT quarterly, and our Board of Directors receives an annual report on our inclusion and diversity strategy and progress.
We are continually working to further embed I&D as central pillars of our culture. To this end, we have set two aspirational goals to achieve by 2025:
Achieve ethnic diversity in each segment of our workforce, with emphasis on leadership, that is greater than or equal to that of the U.S. workforce standards.
Lead the industry in female representation at all levels, with a special emphasis on frontline and women in leadership.
We continue to strengthen programs to hire and retain minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities. We are also broadening our focus on additional underrepresented populations, including the LGBTQ+ community.
Our Board of Directors also believes that its diverse gender, racial and ethnic composition contributes to a valuable diversity of background, thoughts and opinions. This commitment to diversity on our Board is evidenced by the fact that every non-employee director added to our Board since 2013 through the date of this report has been female or is racially/ethnically diverse.
Diversity at Waste Management (as of 12/31/2019)
Board of Directors
33% ethnic minorities
Senior Leadership Team
22% ethnic minorities
Company Officials & Managers
22% ethnic minorities
45% ethnic minorities
Waste Management Workforce
18.60% African American
0.67% American Indian or Alaskan Native
0.40% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
All Private Industry Workforce*
15.02% African American
0.55% American Indian or Alaskan Native
0.47% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Employees by Region
Employees by Generational Breakdown in U.S. and Canada
55.33% Gen Xers (born 1961–1980)
31.41% Millennials (born 1981–2000)
13.05% Baby Boomers (born 1944–1960)
0.02% Gen Z (born 1995-Current)
Employees by Age Group
51.13% 31-50 (1966–1985)
35.70% Over 50 (before 1965)
13.17% 30 and Under (born after 1986)
Employees by Payment Type
*Total does not equal 100% due to rounding.
Increasing the Number of Women in our Ranks
While the waste industry has traditionally been male-dominated, we are making significant strides to increase the representation of women. The percentage of women in professional, executive and board positions at Waste Management currently approaches or exceeds industry averages, and we aspire to lead the industry in female representation at every level, as well as minority representation at middle management and senior leadership.
We’re taking steps to address challenges to hiring women at other levels by actively seeking women to recruit, hire and develop. For example, we are a Gold Member of the Women in Trucking (WIT) Association, which works to encourage employment, promote accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women in the trucking industry. Waste Management serves on WIT’s board and works closely with the organization and other trucking industry participants to address recruitment. We were honored to be recognized by 2020 Women on Boards for having 20% or more corporate board seats held by women. As more roles incorporate technology and automation, we expect that those roles will increasingly attract women.
Working to Meet the Needs of Individuals With Disabilities
We are continually working to better accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities within our workforce. To support this effort, we survey our employees every five years, using the Department of Labor self-identification form CC-305. Our response rates have not exceeded 10%, a typical response rate. Based on data collected from this small sampling, employees with disabilities would be projected at less than 2% of our workforce, a number we consider unrepresentative.
Previously, employees were advised to request reasonable accommodations from their managers or people representatives, which managers were responsible for handling. With this process, we didn’t have a reliable way of knowing which types of accommodations were most effective, and we didn’t have a consistent way to implement them. For our 2020 survey, Waste Management is taking a new approach. We will use email and other electronic means to promote survey participation, as well as digitizing our system to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities. Also, because we know representation matters, we will be featuring inspiring stories of existing employees with disabilities to help encourage survey participation. A new, centralized accommodation tracking system will identify commonly requested accommodations and describe best practices for addressing them, which will help us best serve employees across the company.
Waste Management has been proactive in assisting people with disabilities through our Transition to Recovery Program and by working with the Department of Labor on regulatory proposals to support employment of people with disabilities. We participate in various professional and industry groups, including National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) and local chapters such as the Greater Houston Industry Liaison Group (GHILG). NILG is the largest consortium of private-industry federal contractors working directly with the Department of Labor in shaping equal employment regulations and understanding their impact on the workforce.
The recruitment of veterans is another ongoing focus for Waste Management and is one we place special emphasis on each year. The military offers a substantial pool of professionals with expertise in transportation, logistics and maintenance.
We take a systematic approach to recruiting veterans, posting all open positions on 21 military and veteran network sites that specialize in promoting placement of veterans with private-sector employers, as well as government-owned job placement sites. We also engage in strategic partnerships and marketing efforts with the Department of Labor Career One-Stop centers, Hire Purpose, Corporate Gray, U.S. Veterans Magazines and job fairs. In 2019, Waste Management talent advisors participated in 369 recruiting events for veterans and members of the military. Over the past five years, Waste Management has hired an average of 900 veterans per year in the U.S., a 7.3% hire rate, exceeding the federal benchmark of 5%.
To help retain the servicemembers on our teams, we offer a military leave policy and donate to military causes in the U.S. and Canada. Given Waste Management’s successful track record, we have become a leader in advising other companies on how to hire members of the military. Recently, we contributed to the “How to Hire Military” guide for JobsMission, the largest employer-led veterans’ advocate in the U.S., and we regularly speak at conferences as an expert on veteran hiring.