DEI Roles Diminishing 3 Years After George Floyd’s Death Inspired Them

Diversity, equity, and inclusion roles that were introduced by companies across the nation following the police killing of George Floyd have largely diminished three years later, new reports indicate.

As layoffs hit workplaces across the country, DEI professionals are losing their jobs at a disproportionate rate despite the 55 percent increase seen amid demands for racial equality and justice in the aftermath of Floyd’s 2020 murder, NBC News reports.

According to a 2023 report on the state of DEI by Revelio Labs, DEI-focused roles “experienced a nearly 40% churn rate at companies engaged in layoffs, as compared to about 24% for non-DEI roles” last year.

The attrition rate for DEI positions landed at 33 percent by the end of 2022 compared to 21 percent for non-DEI roles. Companies like Amazon, Applebees, and Twitter have led the pack for DEI layoffs since July 2020, per Revelio Labs.

Other studies show that white people make up over 76 percent of all chief diversity officer roles while Black employees only represent 3.8 percent.

Reyhan Ayas, a senior economist at Revelio Labs said the data shows the verbal commitment to racial justice wasn’t backed by genuine effort.

“I always say that it is so easy to make public statements and commitments because no one will eventually check if you’re committed to the things that you committed to,” Ayas said. “I can say: ‘I will be fully vegan by 2025’ because no one will ever call me in 2025 and ask me if I’m actually fully vegan. And that’s really what is going on here. In 2020, a lot of companies made big commitments, big statements around the DEI roles and goals. And as we are observing a turning of that tide, I think it’s very timely that we actually look into companies to see if they have kept up with those big statements they made.”

DEI professional Nika White said the data highlights “the harsh reality” of many companies’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“This is very disheartening, especially after so many of us were hopeful after George Floyd’s murder that organization leaders would be sensitized and committed to equity and inclusion,” White said.

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