September 20, 2016

Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(916) 795-3991
Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer
Wayne Davis, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Jeanie Esajian, Information Officer

Small and disabled veteran businesses gain more contracts

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) reported diversity and inclusion gains in supplier contracting, workforce recruiting, and long-range Investment Office planning, all toward a commitment set more than a decade ago by the CalPERS Board of Administration.

The accomplishments were reported in the annual Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Report (PDF, 1.08 MB) for the 2015-16 Fiscal Year.

"The progress this report shows, achieved in the last year alone, underscores the correlation between a diverse and inclusive workforce and increased voluntary employee participation and support for these organizational values," said Richard Costigan, chair of the Finance and Administration Committee.

In 2005, the CalPERS Board of Administration committed to achieving a goal of awarding 3 percent of all contracts to Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE), and awarding 25 percent of all contracts to small business and micro business (SB/MB) firms. The report showed that the 3 percent DVBE goal had been met for the fifth straight year in a row, with 4.2 percent of all contracts awarded to DVBE vendors.

Due to the nature of many of CalPERS’ large and complex contracts in the areas of health benefits, investment, and legal needs, many are not conducive to small or micro business vendors. However, with these complex contracts taken out of the equation, CalPERS achieved a 54 percent SB/MB participation and an 18 percent DVBE participation. Otherwise, SB/MB contracts accounted for 14.6 percent, an increase over last year’s 11.75 percent.

"We are proud of what we've achieved and also proud of the journey we have taken to get to where we are today," said Douglas Hoffner, CalPERS' interim chief executive officer. He further cited efforts made to attract, develop, and advance a diverse and talented workforce and efforts of the CalPERS' Investment Office to advance diversity and inclusion internally to staff and externally to the corporate and investment worlds.

In search of the best pool of talented diverse and qualified professionals to work under the CalPERS banner, strong efforts were made to use a variety of outreach events, industry channels through which to advertise and conduct social media, diverse databases of recruits, and electronic systems to speed up the application process. In all, CalPERS received 55,000 job applications for more than 600 job vacancies during the past fiscal year. Once hired, an array of informal mentoring and career service offerings help retain employees and support them in their career path.

Nearly 2,500 CalPERS employees participated in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) workshops, outreach activities, and events during the last fiscal year. This participation mirrors the involvement of employees in D&I at CalPERS, exemplified by the increased participation in two voluntary employee groups that work to foster an inclusive environment. Membership in the CalPERS Diversity & Inclusion Group increased 24 percent over the fiscal year, and membership in CalPERS' Disability Advisory Committee increased 64 percent during Fiscal Year 2015-16.

CalPERS' Investment Office established its own D&I Steering Committee and developed a strategic framework to guide its decisions and engagement through June 2020, and establish initiatives for diversity and inclusion. Highlights of the Investment Office's achievements last fiscal year include:

  • Advocated to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to strengthen corporate board diversity disclosure, which the SEC chair announced was under consideration
  • Worked with our pension peers to successfully petition more than 50 companies to adopt proxy access
  • Announced a new capital commitment of up to $11 billion to invest with small and often diverse investment managers - up to $4 billion for the Emerging Manager and up to $7 billion for the Transition Manager programs

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $301 billion. For more information, visit