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Unveiling the DEI Insights Report 2023-2024: A Deep Dive into Equity & Inclusion in Tech

Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the current sociopolitical and economic climate poses greater obstacles for practitioners and leaders who are committed to improving workplace experiences for diverse workers. Following the global pandemic, technology companies dealt with the challenges of the Great Resignation and the need to right-size the workforce. 

Moreover, anecdotal evidence shows that corporate DEI practitioners are experiencing the effects of the Supreme Court decision to ban race-based admissions policies in higher education. In a Gartner survey, employees said they oppose DEI work in organizations because they feel “alienated by their organization’s DEI efforts,” while others reported that “their peers view their organizations’ DEI efforts as divisive.”

Now more than ever, advancing the work of DEI in technology workplaces requires actionable strategies that are rooted in data and knowledge about what organizations need to continue progress toward achieving their DEI aspirations. To be clear, resistance to DEI work is not new. However, as the conversation around DEI becomes more mainstream, opposition has also become amplified.    

Despite the difficult terrain, many companies are choosing to double down on DEI efforts that contribute to improved organizational culture and business outcomes. A 2022 JUST Capital survey showed that 92% of Americans say that it is important for companies to promote racial equity in the workplace. Moreover, research by McKinsey & Company clearly spells out that firms that are racially and ethnically diverse are 35% more profitable than less diverse companies. When it comes to gender diversity, the difference is 25% more profitability.    

The WTIA DEI Center of Excellence embarked on a 10-month mixed-methods research study about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices employed at technology companies, nonprofits, educational institutions, and social enterprise organizations. We solicited participation from about 70 companies that pledged to participate in the Anti-Racism in Technology Pact and organizations engaged with WTIA DEI Center of Excellence programming. 

The study involved an online survey and a series of one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with individuals who are leading DEI, human resources, workforce development, communications, and other functions in partner organizations. The result is the inaugural 2023-2024 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Insights Report. 

Here is a summary of some of the research findings.

At a Glance: Key Themes from Online Survey Results

Here’s what organizations are doing right:

  • Organizations offer DEI training among employees 
  • There is ample communication about anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies. 
  • Executive leaders endorse diversity hiring goals. 
  • Organizations focus on DEI in succession planning and advancement opportunities. 

Some areas for improvement:

  • Transparency in pay and compensation policies. 
  • People managers require tools and resources to meet and advance diversity goals. 
  • Organizations lack clear goals for recruitment and retention of Black, Indigenous and Latina/o/x talent. 
  • To understand skills gaps, leadership competencies must be assessed through a DEI lens. 

Key Themes from Stakeholder Interviews

The study identified gaps and opportunities in enhancing how DEI is operationalized in the organizational context. At a glance, the report highlights challenges and opportunities in leading with DEI and creating a community of inclusion, equity, and belonging, emphasizing the following themes. 

  • Organizations must center the needs of BIPOC workers in DEI talent management.
  • Managers at all levels of the organization must be invested in cultural transformation. 
  • Diversity metrics often lack an intersectional focus. 
  • Executive leaders and people managers would benefit from leadership capacity development through a DEI lens.

Read the full report. 

Next Steps

So where do we go from here? The study findings underscore the importance of an organization’s steadfast commitment to DEI and the role executive leaders play in advancing cultures of equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. To boost the forward movement for equitable practices in the technology industry, WTIA and Diversity Way-MakerTM offer solutions that deliver sustainable impact on leading organizations toward more inclusive and equitable cultures.

To learn more about the WTIA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center of Excellence and Diversity Way-MakerTM and how we can help you advance your organization’s DEI goals, contact Greg Glover, Head of Business Development, DEI Center of Excellence at gglover@washingtontechnology.org.  

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