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Tech Companies Are Beginning To Go Back On Their 2020 DEI Promises

Sources named companies like Google and Meta as laying off DEI employees and downsizing diversity sectors.

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, big tech companies pledged themselves to commit to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in their companies. However, a recent investigation by CNBC found that major companies have been going back on their promises. 

Big-name companies like Google and Meta devoted themselves to creating a more inclusive and safe space for Black employees through DEI policies after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company’s goal was “to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and externally, to make our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users.” 

Companies, including Google, pledged to invest millions into improving diversity on their tech floors and supporting job positions geared toward upholding DEI in the workforce. 

According to CNBC reports, these programs have begun to be forgotten and disbanded. 

By the middle of this year, sources told CNBC that DEI-related job postings declined nearly 50% from last year. Even though tech companies are no longer looking for people to fill these positions, companies reportedly have begun to lay off DEI employees and downsize programs meant to develop safer environments for POC employees. They’ve reportedly “cut budgets for external DEI groups by as much as 90% in 2023.”

Google and Meta have fallen in line with the concerning trend. 

An expert in the culture of equality, Melinda Epler, explained the sudden changes. She explained, “Whenever there is an economic downturn in tech, some of the first budgets that are cut are in DEI, but I don’t think we’ve seen such stark contrast as this year.”

“When George Floyd began to become the topic of conversations, companies and executives doubled down on their commitments, and here we are only a couple years later, and folks are looking for opportunities to cut those teams.”

The timing of the DEI cuts is especially concerning due to the rise in artificial intelligence in the tech industry. Many are worried that without someone to keep diversity in the conversation as companies develop more and more AI processes, it’ll cause even more issues in representation as it becomes more prominent.’s CEO Brenda Wilkerson said that DEI should be even more important to companies like Google and Meta, given the emergence of AI. 

“We’re in a big technology inflection point, and what happens is as AI begins to take off, and if organizations are less inclusive, the product is not reflective of the users,” Wilkerson said. The choice, say experts, to cut DEI-related jobs and programs could end up exacerbating the issues that are already present in Artificial Intelligence programs today.

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