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Corporate roles focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) may not hold the job security they used to.
A recent study conducted by Revelio Labs shows the companies that laid off workers in 2022 slashed DEI positions at a higher rate than others, indicating those dedicated roles become lower-priority when times get tough.
A recent study on corporate layoffs shows DEI-related positions are more vulnerable to cuts that non-DEI jobs. (iStock / iStock)
The workforce analytics firm found that attrition rates for DEI gigs have surged over the past six months at the more than 600 companies that have conducted layoffs since late 2020 and outpaced non-DEI attrition last year by a rate of 33% to 21%.
Revelio reported that more than 300 DEI professionals left their roles in the last half of 2022 at firms impacted by layoffs, and entire DEI departments were likely eliminated in the bloodbath.
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"Amazon, Twitter, and Nike have shed between 5 and 16 DEI professionals each, and Twitter’s infamous diversity team layoffs are not far behind," the company wrote in its analysis. "Bearing in mind the typically small size of DEI teams – the median DEI team size in this set of companies is 3 – these outflows likely amount to the exodus of entire diversity teams."
Corporate DEI jobs were more likely to be slashed during layoffs last year than other positions, a recent study found. (iStock / iStock)
The Society for Human Resource management reported in 2020 that DEI-related job openings had been on the rise in recent years and surged following nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd that May.
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"With CEOs making public statements pledging to increase diversity at their companies came an uptick to find and hire DE&I leaders as quickly as possible," Valerie Frederickson, founder and CEO of human resources consulting firm Frederickson Partners, told SHRM about the trend.
Several major corporations have announced sweeping layoffs in recent months as economic uncertainty grows.
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However, Frederickson noted that DEI roles tend become more vulnerable when companies are looking at putting positions on the chopping block, adding, "One of the first things companies cut is HR, and within HR, unfortunately, for many businesses, DE&I is still considered nonessential."