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Researching Public Sector Organizations
Finding information about government and other public sector organizations can be easy or challenging. Most public sector organizations are required to publish their budgets in a publicly-accessible information source--a local newspaper, for example. Meetings are also legally mandated to be open, so minutes may be available. Or, not. Local libraries are often experts in where to find public sector informaiton. Local newspapers sometimes publish databases of salaries. Good goverment organizations sometimes publish information about hearings and meetings. The trick is to find these sources! Google and local newspapers are good starting points.
How to Find SEC Reports
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandates that companies registered with them (i.e., that are publicly traded companies listed on the stock exchange), disclose specific kinds of information. Much of this information is financial; it also includes names of top executives and members of their board or directors and their compensation, lines of business, subsidiaries, and major actions and changes. This information is issued in documents that are available to the public through EDGAR, the SEC's database, or through third-party organizations that make the reports available and searchable in a variety of formats.
Third-party source of SEC filings. Easier to use, can be searched via Google (use a domain search, site:secinfo.com). Must register to use (free).
The database of corporate reports filed with the Canadian Securities Administrators.
How to Read Reports
Clarifying Executive Compensation (Washington Post)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has drafted a new pay table to be provided by all public companies to their shareholders in annual proxy statements. This diagram incorporates several major changes to how compensation is tallied and provides a more transparent picture of the total pay of top executives.
Company Research Databases
Check these databases for company financials, executives, annual reports, histories, and more.
Mergent Online is a database of corporate information covering over 22,000 US and foreign public companies. Information available for each company includes corporate history, lists of subsidiaries, SEC filings, etc. Rutgers Restricted Access
Find information on a company's competitors, suppliers, partners, and corporate customers, using a detailed hierarchical classification system for actual products and services. Rutgers Restricted Access
Hoover's Company Records (Westlaw)
Available through the News section of the Westlaw database, Hoover Company Records provide basic company facts, names of executives and directors, and a Company Overview. It includes publicly traded companies, subsidiaries, nonprofits, and some large private companies. Rutgers Restricted Access
MarketLine (formerly Datamonitor 360)
Start with MarketLine for company profiles, SWOT analyses, financial deals, and market share. Rutgers Restricted Access
IbisWorld provides reports for the 723 industries in the U.S. Research reports contain trends, statistics and analysis on market size, emerging industry trends, recent production performance and 5 year forecasts The Rutgers subscription does not include global industry reports but does include reports on more than 8,000 public companies from around the world. Rutgers Restricted Access
Additional Sources of Organizational Data & Information
Research corporate, PAC, industry, executive donations to federal elections. State and local donations can be found from the appropriate state and local campaign contribution databases.
Research possible occupational safety & health violations with this database. The data is by establishment, meaning individual plants and offices within a company.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Cases
Use "case search" under Cases & Decisions to locate labor relations cases. This is one way to find out if the organization is unionized, and can also be used to research their labor relations policies if they are.
EEOC cases and briefs can be researched through this web page. Be warned that EEOC decisions are usually private and confidential and that these briefs and case summaries can be technical and difficult to read.
Collective Bargaining Agreements File: Online Listings of Private and Public Sector Agreements (U.S. DOL)
This online collection of collective bargaining agreements (union contracts) is one way of determining if workers in an organization are unionized. Note that the collection is limited to agreements covering 1,000 or more workers, excluding railroads and airlines.
As it says a free source for benefit plans filed by companies under ERISA. You will need to complete a free registration process.
CSR & Sustainability Reports/News
News on corporate responsibility & citizenship reports. See Reports section for links to reports submitted by members.
Employee Opinion Websites
These website are part of a new trend in which employees write about their jobs and post them to website used by jobseekers. The reviews may give you insight into a company's culture and human resources process, but keep in mind that they are not fact checked and that they represent personal opinion.
A large collection of opinions and salary data on a variety of companies from their employees. Not just a repository of the negative. Includes public sector employers. Free registration recommended to take full advantage of this site.
Company reviews from the employees. The emphasis here is on the positive aspects of the job. Reviews are briefer than those of Glassdoor.com.