Caterpillar ranks among top employers for minorities

Minority Engineer magazine readers ranked Caterpillar sixth out of 50 companies named in the listed in the publication’s annual list of “Top 50 Employers” for minority groups.

Employers included on the magazine’s list were ranked by the frequency with which respondents cited them in a 22-question, 2004 survey. Approximately 220 Minority Engineer readers – primarily black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American engineering students and professionals – were surveyed for the list.

Sid Banwart, Cat’s vice president of human resources, said the ranking results show the company’s progress in creating a work environment that values minorities. He said because Cat is involved with businesses around the world, it is important for the company to reflect that nature in its workforce.

“We’re focused on making our working culture one that includes all kinds of people with more backgrounds and experiences than you can imagine,” Banwart said.

Cat has also created a Corporate Diversity Council to support diversity efforts in its workforce.

Caterpillar was the only construction equipment manufacturer to be included in the ranking’s top 10 companies. Deere, which also produces equipment used for construction, was ranked No. 40.

James Schneider, director for editorial and production of Equal Opportunity Publications, which has published Minority Engineer magazine since 1979, said because readers write in their top three choices of companies for the ranking, the list is fairly accurate of minority employment conditions in the marketplace.

“We don’t make the judgment, the readers do,” Schneider said.

Schneider said many of the companies listed in the ranking have government contracts, which require them to hire a specific number of minority employees.

Linda Fairbanks, spokeswoman for Cat, said the company meets all requirements for such contracts, but doesn’t report its minority employee numbers publicly.

“We’re pleased with this unsolicited ranking, as it reflects Minority Engineer magazine reader perceptions of Caterpillar,” Fairbanks said. “Our people are at the heart of our business.”

Patrick Beeson can be contacted at pbeeson@randallpub.com.