The past three years have seen an unprecedented push for diversity and equity initiatives in workplaces worldwide, but that may change if the economy worsens.
- A January study from the job-search website Monster says the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives may be on the way out if the economy dips into a recession.
- While 47% of recruiters are pushing for increased DEI efforts this year, 11% of employers report that DEI programs will be among the first cut if the recession intensifies.
- As the study found, 5% of recruiters rated DEI in their top three priorities, and that DEI was the second-highest thing on the chopping block behind company events and bonuses.
Why It’s Important
Since the summer of 2020, corporations and businesses worldwide have widely embraced DEI to help address injustices in the workplace and help women and racial minorities feel more welcome.
Advocates argue that DEI initiatives are important to company culture because they foster creativity, fresh perspectives, and understanding. By implementing DEI, people of different races, abilities, ages, genders, religion, sexual orientation, and other diverse backgrounds can be made more comfortable in the workplace.
The execution of these policies hasn’t been so successful and without controversies. An anonymous manager at Microsoft reports that diversity hiring efforts have slowed the hiring process for his former employers to a crawl, negatively impacting multiple understaffed teams.
Others say that implementing a program cannot really force change, if other employees feel the process is being forced on them, or done at their own expense.
The Monster study is only the most recent in a series of human-resource studies showing that DEI is less than a full priority for the business world. Other job-hunting websites have reported similar findings. One researcher for Glassdoor suggests that DEI will be the first practice reconsidered during an economic downturn. Another researcher from Workhuman agreed, but affirming inclusion practices can benefit employers, HR Drive reports.
“DEI programs remain important to workers, but often aren’t prioritized enough by employers. Workers have been vocal about demanding an inclusive workforce and employers are trying to answer that call. Progress is happening, but it’s slow,” says Monster.
“Researchers believe substantial inclusion, belonging, and equity initiatives help employees feel valued—and data indicates that racial and gender minorities feel distinctly undervalued at this time. At a rate of about 49%, employees of color were more likely to report feeling undervalued. Similarly, about 48% of women reported feeling undervalued at work,” says reporter Caroline Colvin.