Data: Diversity Roles Slowly Disappearing Three Years After George Floyd’s Death

Data: Diversity Roles Slowly Disappearing Three Years After George Floyd’s Death

After the murder of George Floyd, corporations made headlines by hiring leaders in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space.

Three years later, those roles are slowly disappearing.

NBC News reported that in 2020, DEI roles increased by 55%. By the end of last year, that number dropped to 33% compared to the number of non-DEI roles of 21%. Instead of creating more equal opportunities for Black employees, like companies pledged to do, they are taking the easy way out.

Senior economist at Revelio Labs, Reyhan Ayas, has been paying close attention to the layoffs and feels the data shows the impact to change is wearing off. “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.

“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.”

Other leaders who have promoted DEI for years feel the same way. Robert L. Johnson, founder of BET, called out corporations like McDonald’s and Bank of America that pledged tons of money, promising “to expand the movement” but haven’t kept their word.

“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,” said Nika White, a DEI professional from South Carolina.

While another survey showed only about 4% of chief diversity officers are Black, some professionals are hopeful a turn around will come with the help of ESG (environmental, social, and governance strategies). National Urban League’s SVP of Corporate DEI and ESG strategies, Chris Metzler, feel it’s the way to play.

“ESG is the way forward,” Metzler said. “We’re still in that old, affirmative action, equal employment opportunity definition of diversity, which is part of the reason why we’re not moving in any significant way.”