Over the past several years, we’ve seen companies do their best to implement effective Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) policies. However, our latest data suggests tech professionals aren’t impressed by the resulting progress, even as they insist that DEIB efforts remain important to them overall. Let’s dig into the numbers.
- In 2022, significantly fewer tech professionals were impressed with their company’s response to anti-racist and gender diversity, equity and inclusion movements than in 2021.
- More than half of tech professionals say it’s important to them that their company makes changes to policies in response to racial and gender diversity, equity and inclusion movements.
of tech professionals say a company's reputation for diversity, equity and inclusion is influential in their decision to work there.
Tech Professionals Haven't Been Impressed with Existing Efforts
In the summer of 2020, social-justice demonstrations erupted across the U.S. In response, many companies heightened their focus on DEIB strategies, including (but certainly not limited to) internal discussion and education, changes in hiring policies and shows of external support for diversity and social justice efforts. While those strategies generated a lot of headlines, it’s clear that tech professionals are leery about their long-term impact.
Have you been impressed with your company's actions related to anti-racist or racial diversity, equity and inclusion movements?
Have you been impressed with your company's actions related to gender diversity, equity and inclusion movements?
Last year, significantly fewer tech professionals were impressed with their company’s response to anti-racist and gender diversity, equity and inclusion movements than in 2021. Black tech professionals, along with those identifying as women, drove this dip.
What’s behind the decline? It could be a resource issue. Respondents at companies with 3,500-4,999 employees were generally far more inspired by their leadership’s DEIB efforts than those at much smaller organizations (i.e., those with between 250-499 employees). Larger companies have the resources, time and bandwidth to push a years-long DEIB strategy, while small- to mid-sized businesses must sometimes prioritize their focus. But as the next section demonstrates, shifting away from DEIB can prove to be a mistake.
DEIB Remains Important to Candidates
Although tech professionals have been less than impressed with their companies’ DEIB efforts, 47% said a company’s reputation for diversity, equity and inclusion can influence their decision to work there (slightly less than a third of respondents said that reputation wasn’t a factor in such decision-making).
For companies of all sizes, particularly smaller ones attempting to compete with well-monetized and larger rivals for hard-to-hire talent, this statistic should serve as a call to action. A DEIB policy isn’t a “sideshow,” but a crucial differentiator when many tech professionals are deciding where to work. With 52% of tech professionals likely to switch jobs this year (according to the most recent Dice Tech Sentiment Report), organizations must consider every possible factor that will keep their valuable employees happy enough to stay, including whether their DEIB policies have resulted in a truly welcoming and inclusive culture.
To what extent does an employer's reputation regarding diversity, equity and inclusion factor into your decision to work for that company?
Taking Action is Key
Fortunately, even businesses without a robust DEIB policy have time to make changes. More than half (52%) of respondents said that companies making changes to policies in response to racial diversity, equity and inclusion movements is important to them. That number barely shifted year over year, suggesting this is a well-solidified opinion among tech professionals.
However, there’s also some gender disparity here: 30% of tech professionals who identify as men said they didn’t find such policy changes important, versus 21% of those identifying as women.
Meanwhile, 51% of respondents said it was important that a company make changes to support gender diversity, inclusion and equity. Although DEIB efforts at many companies have yielded only incremental improvements to workforce and leadership diversity, job candidates can tell whether a company is making a sincere effort to change things, and they’ll react accordingly. Given the relatively low unemployment rate in tech, companies must integrate DEIB into their candidate outreach, and show how their internal culture truly attempts to include everyone.
Is it important to you that your company make changes to policies to help support racial diversity, equity and inclusion movements?
Is it important to you that your company make changes to policies to help support gender diversity, equity and inclusion movements?
Why This Should Matter to Your Company
More professionals realize that performative DEIB tactics don’t translate into actual impact, and they’ll leave a company that doesn’t truly embrace and practice effective DEIB. Fewer workers (especially younger ones) are willing to spend years in a toxic environment that’s not serving their needs. That gives companies a choice: engage in impactful DEIB... or pay the extravagant costs of high turnover as their revenue-critical talent walks out the door.
Shallow DEIB efforts not only hinder retention and hiring of top diverse talent, but harm the ability to reach consumers. Managers and tech professionals know that when you have a diverse team actively working on a project, the resulting product is stronger and appeals to more groups. In addition, consumers are paying more attention to which companies have strong DEIB practices. From a branding and practical standpoint, DEIB is critical to retaining and growing a customer base over the long term.
Changes You Can Make Now
Real change takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight or after one program or initiative. Here are three steps to get you on the right path:
Ask the Right Questions
Most companies have their employees complete engagement surveys... but fail to implement initiatives that tackle the problems illuminated by those surveys. As a result, employees are discouraged from completing future surveys. Instead, companies should actually study the data and allocate time for focus groups to troubleshoot feasible, meaningful solutions. Transparency is key to understanding the gaps in your DEIB approach.
Making your senior talent acquisition specialist do double duty as the DEIB program manager, handling all things DEIB for the company while still serving as a TA specialist, isn’t an effective DEIB practice. Stop taxing individuals who have expressed an interest in DEIB by overloading them with this work. There are a variety of ways to outsource support to help you build an effective strategy for implementing DEIB right.
Be Committed Through Accountability
Commitment is more than words or even taking action to launch a program. It’s also about holding yourself and others accountable. Be committed to making leaders responsible and ensuring there is a protected grievance process in place to mitigate discrimination, hate and injustices that happen in the workplace but go unaddressed.
On-Demand Dice Webinar
In this panel discussion with Nancy Harris, Founder and CEO of Restart Consulting, and Kevin Welch, VP of IT Recruiting at Zions Bancorporation, you'll learn:
- Why DEI is especially important to tech professionals (and why that matters in the hiring process)
- How to build truly diverse teams through inclusive and equitable hiring and retention practices
- Ways to effectively advocate for equality and inclusion in your organization
Equality in Tech – Part One
Check out the previous fact sheet in this content series, Discrimination in Tech, where we present survey data that shows racial and gender discrimination remains pervasive within the tech industry. Check out Dice's fact sheet for the data breakdown including:
- What percentage of tech professionals are still experiencing discrimination in the workplace
- How discrimination leads to burn out
- What you can do to help make your organization more diverse, equitable and inclusive