Employer efforts around diversity & inclusion have been in the spotlight for over a year, so before barreling ahead, it's a good time to take stock of what's working and what's not. Every company knows that strong diversity and inclusion is a powerful enabler of business performance, and that combined with profound racial injustice over the past year has led companies to make big efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Meaningful change is the expectation, but are employers getting diversity and inclusion efforts right in the eyes of their employees?
Here are the key takeaways from a new Glassdoor study on D&I satisfaction by race and ethnicity:
1. Are Workplaces Diverse and Inclusive? It Depends on Who You Ask.
We find strong evidence that workers from different racial and ethnic groups disagree about the current state of workplace D&I at their companies. Overall, Black or African American workers report an average D&I rating of 3.49 out of 5 stars, well below the average of 3.73 stars across all workers. By contrast, Asian workers report above average D&I ratings of 3.98 stars, while Hispanic/Latinx workers report ratings of 3.80 stars.
2. Avoid Allowing White Voices to Dominate Opinions on Diversity.
White employees make up 60 percent of the U.S. workforce and 56 percent of Glassdoor D&I ratings in our studied sample. Broad measures of D&I satisfaction - and employee satisfaction more broadly - tend to be dominated by opinions of white employees because of this overrepresentation. That risks creating blind spots for employers who do not directly solicit feedback from, and target investment in, underrepresented groups.
3. The Workplace Diversity Perceptions Gap is Real and Growing.
Using a statistical model, we assess whether D&I sentiment differs among racial and ethnic groups after accounting for differences in employees' occupations,industries, company sizes, genders, lengths of time on the job and more. We find that, even after these adjustments, Black or African American employees still rate workplace D&I nearly 8 percent lower - a large and highly statistically significant gap. Moreover, we find that since 2019 this gap has grown rather than shrunk, expanding from 0.2 to 0.6 stars (on a 1 to 5 star satisfaction scale) despite many employers increasing investments in D&I programs in the last two years.
4. Employee Views on Diversity Vary by Industry.
We find the largest D&I perception gaps between Black or African American sentiment and all other employees are in the Accounting & Legal, Consumer Services, Travel & Tourism, Government and Biotech & Pharmaceuticals sectors. By contrast, we find small or indistinguishable D&I perception gaps in the Media, Business Services, Transportation & Logistics, and Telecommunications sectors. In only one industry - Media - did Black or African American employees rate workplace D&I
above other employees.
5. Some Jobs More Aligned on Diversity than Others.
We find the largest gaps in D&I perceptions between Black or African American employees and all other employees exist among Registered Nursing roles (1.9 star gap), Customer Success roles (1.8 star gap), and Program Manager roles (1.8 star gap). We find Black or African American employees rate D&I lower in 52 of the 60 occupations examined, and equal in four occupations. In just four occupations do Black or African American employees rate their company's D&I above other employees: Social Worker, Product Manager, Recruiter, and Systems Technician.
6. Employee Race and Ethnicity on Glassdoor is Broadly Representative.
We compare the percentage distribution of racial and ethnic groups in our sample of Glassdoor D&I ratings to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, and find the data remarkably close to the actual population race and ethnicity makeup of the nation.
The Way Forward for Employers.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for employers who are serious about cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Our findings show that employers must look beyond "average" employee opinion on workplace diversity, as doing so can conceal important gaps in D&I sentiment among employees of different backgrounds and racial and ethnic groups. Looking deeper in this manner may reveal gaps in employee perceptions or experiences, or highlight areas of the workforce where D&I programs are not reaching.
Your people - especially those from underrepresented groups - will remember how you supported them as individuals in the context of their culture. To get involved in the conversation around diversity & inclusion on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.