Researchers looking at the global market for diversity and inclusion technology predict new software has the potential to disrupt patterns of bias and drive organizational change.

“After years of spending time and money on diversity and inclusion, there is a palpable feeling of fatigue: the representation of historically underrepresented employees has not changed commensurate with those efforts and many organizations are still far from reaching their goals,” researchers wrote in the report.

The report identified 105 diversity and inclusion tech firms and found the market size is roughly $100 million and growing. Forty-three percent of providers focus on software used in talent acquisition and management. Twenty-six percent of the market is geared toward analytics, followed by development and advancement (19%), and engagement and retention (12%).

“We know that companies are renewing their focus on D&I,” said Stacia Garr, co-founder and principal analyst of RedThread Research in a press release. “As a result, we’ve seen a flood of new entrants into this market sector. There is very little insight, however, into who they are or what they are offering. We wanted to understand who the players are, exactly what problems they are trying to solve, and how successful they have been, both financially and in the eyes of their customers.”

Seventy-four percent of diversity and inclusion tech vendors surveyed are small companies with fewer than 50 employees and 60 percent are less than four years old, the report found. Their customer base is primarily found in the finance/banking, technology, and professional services industries.

“Diversity and inclusion has long been a priority for many of our clients and other organizations,” said Carole Jackson, co-author of the report and Senior Principal in Mercer’s Diversity & Inclusion consulting practice. “It wasn’t always a top ‘business priority’ for CEOs. It was often considered ‘the right thing to do’ and with that came nominal budgets and superficial support from leaders.”

Diversity and inclusion across the tech industry is well-documented as companies make small strides towards progress. 

“With more and more research demonstrating a direct link between greater diversity and improved business results, CEOs are putting real budgets in place to eliminate bias, ensuring equity in all talent processes, and demanding inclusive working environments,” Jackson said. “This is proving to be the fuel for change and creating space for these technologies to grow.”