Main image of article Will Mass Tech Layoffs Harm DEI Progress?

The current burst of layoffs among the biggest tech companies could have an impact on their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

According to Textio, a company dedicated to inclusive recruiting and eliminating corporate bias, listings for DEI roles declined 19 percent in 2022. “Only software engineering and data science jobs saw larger declines, at 24 percent and 27 percent, respectively,” recounted Bloomberg, which broke down Textio’s data.  

Bloomberg’s reporters also spoke with DEI specialists who’d left companies like Amazon and Meta over the past few months: “Many said they expect their responsibilities will go to former colleagues who remain or to employee resource groups, which often don’t get compensated for that work.” (Amazon claimed its DEI plans haven’t been altered by the recent layoffs, while Meta declined to comment.)

A lack of DEI efforts can have significant ripple effects through a company—none of them good. According to Dice’s most recent Equality in Tech Report, some 48 percent of tech professionals examine a company’s DEI efforts before making the decision to work there. Tech pros from underrepresented groups are also more likely to leave their current company for another employer, driven by a desire for more responsibility, greater professional development, and better working conditions.

Forty-three percent of Asian Indian tech professionals told Dice they were considering a switch in employers within the next year, for example, along with 39 percent of their Black colleagues. High levels of Hispanic/Latino(a) (38 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (33 percent) and White (26 percent) tech pros likewise hinted at a desire to jump jobs. Managers who understand the needs of underrepresented groups within their organizations can adjust their strategies to keep morale and retention high.

But even if companies recognize the need for DEI, there’s still much work to be done. Fewer than half of those tech pros surveyed as part of the Equality in Tech Report were impressed by their companies’ DEI actions to date. If the biggest tech companies are reducing their headcount of DEI specialists, it could impact any diversity-related progress they’ve made so far.