The American Opportunity Index 2023

‘Corporate practice matters. The actions companies take have profound career impacts on workers.’

An examination of economic mobility in the workplace from the Burning Glass Institute, the Harvard Business School Project on Managing the Future of Work, and the Schultz Family Foundation

“It has long been a central tenet of American life that the growth of our economy goes hand in hand with the progress of our workers. In recent decades, however, economic mobility has been on the decline, raising important questions not only about the inclusiveness of our social contract but also about the continued prospects for industry.”

The American Opportunity Index 2023

The opportunity for an individual to improve their economic status has long been a central theme of the American Dream. While government policy can play a role in providing that opportunity, it truly rests in the hands of employers. That’s the central theme of the new American Opportunity Index 2023, a scorecard of the nation’s top corporations that evaluates how their hiring, pay, and promotion policies are helping their workers get ahead.

The Index – a joint project of the Burning Glass Institute, the Managing the Future of Work Project at Harvard Business School, and the Schultz Family Foundation – is intended to demystify the corporate culture and to serve as a roadmap for workers and job seekers looking for employers intent on helping their employees advance their careers and finances.

The research looks at the career paths of more than 4.72 million workers in roles that don’t necessarily require a college degree across 396 of the country’s largest companies over a five-year period. The Index ranks the companies by tracking their performance in providing five degrees of opportunity – hiring, pay, promotion, parity, and culture.

The authors highlight these five key insights from their research:

  • Corporate practice has a major impact on workers.
  • Driving better outcomes for workers helps companies, too.
  • Promotion is a powerful lever for boosting employee retention.
  • Promotion and parity often – but not always – go hand in hand.
  • Companies have consideration control over their performance.

The Top Performing Companies

The American Opportunity Index 2023 says the Top 100 companies in the study “stand out not for having perfect records of creating mobility but rather for showing strength across multiple dimensions.”

The report continues, “Some companies, as you will see, are already leading the way. From Coca-Cola, to W.W. Grainger, to PNC Financial Services, to Meta Platforms, top performers can be found across a range of industries, and they often drive strong worker outcomes across the board. Armed with the findings in this Index, more firms can craft better policies to improve mobility – either through learning from peers or independent analysis of their own practices.”

You can read the full report here: The American Opportunity Index 2023

Microsoft: Thriving and Growing Inside a Corporate Giant

In both this year’s report and the inaugural report in 2022, Microsoft has been a Top 100 performer in the Index.

In our new WorkingNation film, we take a look at the transformative culture inside the global tech giant through the stories of Namrita Grover, principal manager of data science at Microsoft, and Shawn Villaron, the VP and general manager of PowerPoint at Microsoft Bay Area.

Shawn Villaron never graduated from college, yet soared to success at Microsoft. Fueled by his passion for work and backed by his exceptional skills, he says he now has a thriving career that he loves. His belief in Microsoft and their approach to the corporate culture is uplifting, showcasing the impact of a non-traditional pathway.

Namrita Grover’s journey to a principal manager role in data science at Microsoft exemplifies this transformative power. Namrita moved to the U.S. from India for her family and was a stay-at-home mom for over a decade before she began with Microsoft. At Microsoft, she says, she has been able to thrive and grow into her position because of the work flexibility and the nurturing trust the company has given her.

This documentary – released earlier this month – brings to light how a nurturing, trusting, and cultivating work environment leads to loyal, healthy, and happy employees.

You can watch it below.

What It’s Like to Work at Microsoft

We follow a day in the life of two Microsoft employees inside Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley campus. See why Microsoft has such a high ranking on the American Opportunity Index, a corporate scorecard on companies’ enablement of worker advancement.