Layoffs Are Impacting DEIB Progress

By Nicole Martin


The recent sweeping layoffs across tech and other industries are cutting costs at the expense of DEIB. These moves are not only impacting workers’ livelihoods and the economy, they’re also affecting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. How? According to new data from Revelio Labs, DEIB positions are being disproportionately affected by the cuts. Eliminating these positions will have a ripple effect on hiring and retention.

Revelio found that over 300 DEI professionals from large companies, such as Amazon, Twitter and Nike, have left in the last six months. Given that diversity teams are typically small in nature, even at large corporations, these cuts could mean the dismantling of the entire diversity team – a move companies will likely regret making down the road.

Hiring for these positions has also stalled. As Bloomberg recently noted, hiring for Chief Diversity and Inclusion officers declined 4.5% in 2022, and listings for DEI roles dipped 19%.

And this is all happening while we are simultaneously seeing a decline in diverse hiring. Revelio found that TripAdvisor, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Honeywell, Walmart, IBM, and Capital One, are among the employers with the largest declines in diverse hires among companies that have experienced recent layoffs. Not likely a coincidence.

Cutting back in this area, along with a noticeable dip in diversity hiring, by such large companies could cause a ripple effect with smaller organizations whose budgets for these roles is even smaller.

The Negative Effects of Eliminating DEIB Roles

Laying off or failing to hire specialized DEIB positions could signify a bigger issue: placing less of a priority in DEIB moving forward. As an HR professional, this to me is a red flag to which we need to pay close attention.

The numbers are already showing a decline in diverse hiring. Without DEIB roles to implement and oversee important initiatives, what will happen to the workforce, and in turn the company’s bottom line?

The benefits of a diverse workforce are proven. A McKinsey study found that diversity can impact an organization’s bottom line. How? By:

  • Boosting creativity and innovation. Diverse thinking leads to more creativity. Bringing together multiple perspectives fosters new ways of thinking, which drives innovation.
  • Creating a more inclusive culture. A culture that encourages diversity cultivates an environment where people feel accepted and valued, which enhances employee engagement and boosts productivity. Such a culture helps to retain and attract talent.
  • Improving Decision Making. Research shows that diverse teams are better at making decisions – 87% of the time!

Making short-sided DEIB cuts to fix bottom line numbers now, could negatively impact the bottom line in the future by impeding the ability to develop and grow talent through diversity.

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