- Less than half of U.S. employees work somewhere with DEI programming, and that number may be dropping, per data from Glassdoor’s economic research team. The rate of Glassdoor users reporting DEI access dropped from 43.5% to to 43.1%.
- Although slight, this decrease marks a trend of waning DEI interest, per Glassdoor data. DEI access dropped year over year from 2021 to 2022 as well.
- The legal, IT and finance industries were among those with the biggest declines in workers reporting DEI access.
From the passage of the CROWN Act in more states and regions to the enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, this year has seen some U.S. legislation supporting DEI come into effect. But markedly, 2023 has signaled a shift in the framing of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.
At the top of 2023, labor experts noted that the DEI focus was shifting away from explicit focus on racial justice or diverse representation, and more toward equity conversations: pay transparency to close the gender gap, financial literacy for underserved populations, and increased support for caregivers.
This is on par with what experts told HR Dive at the top of the year: that DEI isn’t dead, per se, but instead those people-first objectives are being bundled into “employee experience.”
The tone of DEI conversations has also shifted this year thanks to a Supreme Court ruling. By deeming the admissions programs of Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill unconstitutional, it set a precedent regarding affirmative action. Early on, workplace experts told HR Dive that the June 2023 ruling could have a chilling effect on DEI in the workplace.
However, access has increased in certain industries; the Nov. 13 Glassdoor report noted that the arts and culture, restaurants and food service, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries saw the biggest increases in DEI access reported. The year-over-year data also indicates that equity and inclusion programming far outpaces what existed prior to the racial reckoning of 2020.
In 2017, less than 28% of workers said a DEI program existed at their company.
Following the SCOTUS on affirmative action, lawyers advised in an op-ed for HR Dive that employers reassess their DEI programs to ensure they are compliant.