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Latest ESOP Research and Surveys

We will begin collecting data for our ESOP Repurchase Obligation Survey in May 2017; if you would like to contribute data from your ESOP company, contact Research Director Nancy Wiefek at nwiefek@nceo.org or 510-208-1312 to receive an invitation.

The NCEO maintains a wealth of resources on the state of ESOPs in the U.S., including plan counts, sponsor demographics, and a comprehensive list of ESOPs. Our ESOP company surveys provide the ESOP community with the most current data on company practices and trends in corporate governance, compensation, and more.

Research and Surveys

Latest ESOP Statistics and Lists

The NCEO uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor, the IRS, and other sources to provide up-to-date counts and characteristics of ESOP companies.

Key Statistics on ESOPs

According to the most recent DOL data, there are 6,717 ESOPs in the U.S. covering over 14 million participants. Information about the ESOP universe is collected and presented on this page.

List of All U.S. ESOPs

We also publish a comprehensive database of ESOPs, updated annually, that includes data on each sponsor company's location, industry, size, plan assets, and more. The current ESOP database, last updated in February 2017, is available for purchase here.

Latest Research on ESOPs and the Economy

A sizeable body of research by the NCEO and others has examined how ESOPs interact with the economy, both through their effects on corporate performance and through their effects on workers' fortunes in the labor market. Highlights of recent NCEO research include:
  • The NCEO and Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (ESCA)'s 2016 paper Economic Growth Through Employee Ownership summarizes major findings on ESOPs' economic effects, including past research by the NCEO finding that employee-owners are less likely to be laid off compared to workers who are not employee-owners.
  • A 2015 analysis by the NCEO, using data from the 2015 General Social Survey (GSS), indicated that workers who reported owning stock in their company through a company-sponsored employee ownership plan were less likely to be laid off than workers who did not report being in such a plan.
  • The NCEO is concluding a major project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to study how employee ownership correlates with labor market outcomes of young workers, making new use of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLS). Results of this project are forthcoming.

ESOP Company Surveys

The NCEO conducts an ongoing series of company surveys covering numerous employee ownership topics. These surveys are designed to provide the employee ownership community with the most current data on company practices, strategies, and emerging trends.

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NEW The ESOP Repurchase Obligation Survey will begin collecting data in May 2017. Contact Nancy Wiefek at nwiefek@nceo.org to participate.

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The ESOP Corporate Governance Survey covers a range of issues related to corporate governance in ESOP companies, including board composition and the role of ESOP participants, the trustee, and more.

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The ESOP Executive Compensation Survey is one of the only sources of data on executive compensation specific to ESOP companies. Results from the 2016 survey are now available.

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The Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) Survey explores trends in plan design, compensation cost, plan satisfaction, and other aspects of employee stock purchase plans.

In addition to our research surveys, the NCEO conducts the Ownership Culture Survey, an employee survey product designed to help individual companies assess and improve their ownership culture by measuring employee attitudes. Learn more about the Ownership Culture Survey here.

Research Inquiries

We gladly undertake custom research to answer questions about employee ownership for NCEO members and other interested parties. Contact Research Director Nancy Wiefek at nwiefek@nceo.org or 510-208-1312.