Measuring Who Moves Ahead: American Opportunity Index Reveals Strategies for Workforce Success

In the competitive landscape of the modern workforce, companies that prioritize talent management and employee advancement not only foster a more engaged and productive workforce but also reap substantial financial benefits. The recently released 2023 American Opportunity Index sheds light on the strategies adopted by top-performing companies, showcasing how they excel at driving business performance and promoting worker advancement.

Key Findings:

  1. Financial Impact of Talent Retention: Large companies outperforming their peers in employee retention can save up to $400 million annually on turnover costs. This is attributed to a combination of competitive wages and ample opportunities for internal promotions.
  2. Promotion and Compensation: Workers at top-performing companies are 2.5 times more likely to receive promotions, and they earn, on average, 68% more for the same jobs compared to their counterparts in lower-performing firms.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: The Index evaluates companies across 12 metrics, including new measures of internal promotion, wage growth, and parity in promotion rates for women, Black, and Hispanic employees, highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion in workforce strategies.
  4. Data-Driven Approach: Unlike traditional corporate surveys, the Index relies on an independent, big-data analysis of the career trajectories of nearly 5 million workers from 2018 to 2022, drawing insights from social media platforms, online resumes, salary data, and job postings.

Top 10 Companies:

The Index’s top 10 companies for 2023 include Coca-Cola Co., J.M. Smucker Co., W.W. Grainger Inc., PNC Financial Services Group, ServiceNow Inc., Meta Platforms Inc., Capital One Financial Corp., Bank of America Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., and Intuit Inc., showcasing the diversity of top performers across various industries.

Categories and Sectoral Patterns:

The Index assesses companies across five categories – hiring, pay, promotion, parity, and culture, revealing sector-specific strengths and weaknesses. For instance, retail firms excel at removing barriers to entry and providing skills for valuable promotions, while technology firms offer higher pay and promotion opportunities.

Corporate Practices Matter:

Companies within the same sector can have significantly different worker outcomes, emphasizing that talent-management practices are a deliberate business choice rather than predetermined by industry fundamentals. Head-to-head competitors often display stark differences in promotion rates, pay, and retention.

Bottom-Line Impact:

The Index establishes a strong correlation between high retention rates and both wage and promotion probability. Companies in the top 100 for retention save substantial amounts in attrition-related costs, showcasing the tangible bottom-line impact of effective talent management.

Parity Scores:

Introducing a new parity category focusing on gender and racial parity, the Index highlights the importance of fair promotion practices. While some companies excel at both promotion and parity, a quarter of firms in the top 100 in promotion are in the bottom half in parity, indicating room for improvement.

Tool for Action:

The Index serves as a benchmarking tool for companies to assess their performance, set data-driven goals, and test new practices. Job seekers can use it to identify firms aligning with their values, promoting a more transparent and informed job market.


The American Opportunity Index underscores the impact of talent-maximizing practices on both workforce satisfaction and corporate performance. As more companies strive to emulate the strategies of top performers, there is a potential for widespread improvement in job quality and economic security for American workers. The Index offers a roadmap for companies to innovate in creating policies that benefit employees and contribute to overall corporate success.