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DEI is collapsing across corporate America
By Cassie B. // Apr 05, 2024

Are American businesses finally realizing just how destructive DEI programs are?

It wasn’t long ago that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) was a corporate buzzword, with woke executives around the nation clamoring to come up with the most diverse workforces possible – even if it meant a far less qualified employee base.

Now, however, the tide appears to be turning after numerous examples have driven home the point that so many people tried to make when all this nonsense began. More and more business leaders are becoming disillusioned with DEI, even though a lot of them are not willing to talk about it publicly.

In a recent interview with Axios, the president of the Society for Human Resource Management, Johnny Taylor, said: "The backlash is real. And I mean, in ways that I've actually never seen it before. CEOs are literally putting the brakes on this DE&I work that was running strong" since the whole Black Lives Matter madness exploded following the death of George Floyd.

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ senior vice president and head of social impact and equity, Kevin Clayton, said that the role of chief diversity officer became “the hottest position in America” following Floyd’s death, with many businesses hiring people for these roles “out of guilt.” He said that he was being pursued by more than 12 employers in 2020.

During the first year following the Black Lives Matter protests, 2021, S&P-listed companies added more than 300,000 jobs, and 94 percent of them were given to people of color.

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At the time, major firms such as Wells Fargo, Nike and Google started to appoint chief diversity officers and publicized their DEI efforts in hopes of improving their reputation with minorities.

However, Taylor said that many executives now feel they did not make good hiring decisions for these roles, particularly those who made their selections based on job candidates’ civil rights backgrounds rather than looking for talent with more corporate expertise.

Businesses are reducing DEI staff and funding for DEI initiatives

Now, businesses are backtracking, reducing their DEI staff and slashing funding for DEI initiatives. Many businesses are citing claims that these programs give preferential treatment to minorities as their reason for moving away from DEI efforts.

Some have been sued over their programs, while others are worried about the potential for future litigation. For example, Bank of America recently expanded their internal programs so they now “include everyone,” while Goldman Sachs has widened the scope of its “Possibilities Summit” that was originally geared toward black college students to include white students as well.

More than 65 anti-DEI bills have been introduced by state legislators since 2023, and high-profile cases like the fiasco with Harvard University’s first black president, Claudine Gay, who retired after it was discovered her work was plagiarized, and the many dangerous problems with Boeing airplanes that have arisen after the company embraced DEI, thrust these issues into the spotlight.

Recently, Snap laid off employees who worked on retention and engagement for workers from underrepresented groups, while Zoom cut its internal DEI team as part of broader layoffs. Other companies that have reduced the size of their DEI teams by 50 percent or more recently include DoorDash, Home Depot, X, Wayfair, Meta, Lyft and Tesla.

Data from Revelio Labs, a firm that tracks workforce dynamics, shows that DEI jobs peaked in the beginning of last year before dropping five percent for 2023. They have shrunk by another eight percent so far this year. In addition, the attrition rate for DEI jobs has been roughly twice that of non-DEI jobs.

It is clear that many businesses are finally getting the message that hiring should be based on merit and that basing these important decisions on any other criteria will only hurt their reputation and bottom line.

Sources for this article include:




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