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Employers increasingly prioritizing DEI in the workplace: survey

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Companies are increasingly prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, as 83 per cent of professionals responsible for DEI strategies reported an increase in responsibilities over the past year, according to a survey by United Minds in partnership with KRC Research and Weber Shandwick.

The global survey, which polled more than 200 professionals in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., found a majority (86 per cent) of respondents said their companies are investing sufficient resources into DEI. Indeed, 77 per cent reported working with budgets of USD$10 million.

Since 2019, 24 per cent more senior DEI leaders in the US reported budgets between USD$10 million and USD$49.9 million, and 26 per cent more reported budgets of over USD$50 million. Over the same period, 39 per cent fewer senior DEI leaders reported budgets of less than $10 million.

However, barriers to DEI in the workplace remain, found the survey, as 91 per cent of respondents reported experiencing challenges to DEI initiatives. Respondents cited staffing as their no. 1 challenge, followed by visible outcomes and functional integration. And more than half (54 per cent) reported unfair treatment (discrimination, harassment, and/or microaggressions) at their organization in the past year.

As well, the survey found one in three resignations were attributed to dissatisfaction with DEI in the workplace. Additionally, 78 per cent agreed that DEI still isn’t prioritized unless there’s a visible or public problem.

Ultimately, optimism remains high, noted the report, as 45 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that their chief executive officer views their position as a “must-have.” And 84 per cent of senior DEI leaders said they’re optimistic about the future of DEI.

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