In addition to initiatives to invest in Black-owned businesses, another popular response was a spike in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) jobs. However, not too shortly after the hype died down, many DEI professionals were cut loose.
As previously shared by AFROTECH, an NBC report showed that 40% of layoffs at surveyed organizations were for DEI roles compared to 24% for non-DEI roles. The numbers have fueled people’s perspective that the hiring wasn’t “genuine” to begin with.
“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,” Revelio Labs senior economist Reyhan Ayas told NBC. “I can say: ‘I will be fully vegan by 2025’ because no one will ever call me in 2025 and ask me if I’m actually fully vegan. And that’s really what is going on here. 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.”
Another study has shown how Black DEI professionals have further gotten the short end of the stick. According to a report from Zippia, 76.1% of chief diversity officer roles are held by white employees while 3.8% are held by Black employees. Additionally, when looking at the percentages over the years from 2010 to 2021, Black employees have stayed between 3.1% and 3.8%.
As the job market is rapidly declining, it’s likely that DEI roles will continue to be cut — leaving Black employees to find another way to ensure that an impact is being made at companies for the community.