- The number of LinkedIn users with the title "head of diversity" has grown by 107%, globally, over the past five years, according to a report published Sept. 2. In the same time period, individuals with the title "director of diversity" increased 75%, and "chief diversity officer" titles increased 68%, LinkedIn data found.
- Worldwide, there has been a 71% increase in all diversity and inclusion (D&I) roles in the past five years. The most common diversity title for LinkedIn users was "diversity manager," followed by "director of diversity," "diversity officer," "head of diversity" and lastly "diversity consultant," according to the report.
- The data also showed a difference in the brand perception of companies that have a D&I function compared to those that do not. A company with a D&I team was 22% more likely to be viewed as "an industry-leading company with high-caliber talent," and 12% more likely seen as an "inclusive workplace for people of diverse backgrounds," according to LinkedIn.
Although LinkedIn data found the COVID-19 pandemic initially caused many companies to slow D&I efforts, "an enormous upward spike" in D&I roles offered began in late May and early June amid national protests and calls for racial justice, according to the report.
Many companies established new D&I positions that previously did not exist. For example, the Washington Post announced in June it would create new positions focused on D&I, including a managing editor of diversity and inclusion. The same month, Korn Ferry announced Michael Hyter as its first-ever chief diversity officer. Meanwhile, companies that already had established D&I leaders placed a greater emphasis on initiatives for employees, such as TIAA's Be the Change.
In times of crisis, companies should not be complacent in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, according to a McKinsey & Company report released May 19. "In this challenging context, the task of fostering I&D [inclusion and diversity] could easily take a back seat — and the painstaking progress made by many firms in recent years could be reversed," the firm said. "Companies whose leaders welcome diverse talents and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger."
But despite the recent spike in interest in D&I as a business function, the profession has long been on the rise, according to practitioners. LinkedIn's data coincides with the findings of a ZoomInfo report released June 23, which also found that in the past five years, the number of executives with D&I titles has more than doubled. An analysis of 60 million professionals in ZoomInfo's database found that more than 2,000 roles with "diversity" or "inclusivity" in the title existed in 2019, compared to 876 in 2014.
The analysis also found that until 2010, fewer than 500 companies had workers with D&I in their title. As of Q1 in 2020, 39% of Fortune 500 companies have a diversity executive with a title of director or higher, the report stated. In addition to overseeing internal diversity-related programs, D&I executives "foster a general sense of comradery among employees," according to ZoomInfo.