SHRM and Boston College Study Reveals 64 Percent of Organizations Say DE&I Is Important Yet 62 Percent Have Allocated Little to No Resources to DE&I

Key Findings from the National Study of Workplace Equity Shared at SHRM INCLUSION 2022 Conference

October 25, 2022
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SAN DIEGO—The SHRM Research Institute and Boston College released preliminary findings from new research today at the SHRM INCLUSION 2022 conference in San Diego. Results shared from the upcoming National Study of Workplace Equity report show that nearly two-thirds of organizations (64 percent) say diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is important, yet 62 percent have allocated little to no resources to DE&I. The full report will be released in the coming months.

The study, funded by the Center for Social Innovation at the Boston College School of Social Work, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and WorkRisea research-to-action network on jobs, workers and mobility hosted by the Urban Instituteprovided a snapshot of the state of workplace equity in the United States.

"In today's evolving world of work, fair policies and practices together with strong and deliberate DE&I strategies are integral to breaking the barriers of bias and inequity that can be present in the workplace," said SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP. "We must continue to address the root causes of bias, whether it be gender, age, racial, sexual orientation or disability, while building greater equity to lead workplaces into a better tomorrow."

The SHRM Research Institute and Boston College found that 20 percent of HR professionals say their organization's overall policies and practices are not at all fair or are only somewhat fair. What's more, between 26 percent and 28 percent of organizations say their employees have experienced certain types of bias within the past two years:

  • About 27 percent of organizations' employees have experienced racial bias within the past two years.
  • 26 percent of organizations say their employees have experienced bias against older workers within the past two years.
  • It was also found that over a quarter of U.S. organizations (28 percent) say their employees have experienced gender bias within the past two years.

The National Study of Workplace Equity focused on identifying the root causes of inequality in the workplace by investigating how inequities can be embedded within employment systems. The study assessed the equity of 10 different employment systems: job structures, recruitment and hiring, compensation and benefits, orientation and onboarding, supervision and mentoring, training and career development, performance assessment and feedback, employee resources and supports, promotions, and separations. The researchers developed an index to determine which systems were more equitable and which were less equitable at the time of the study.

The employment systems with the highest mean equity scores were recruitment and hiring; compensation and benefits; and orientation and onboarding. The systems with the lowest mean equity scores were employee resources and supports; job structures; and supervision and mentoring.

The study also identified seven pathways that employers might pursue to strengthen equity in each of the employment systems. These pathways include policies, practices, planning and evaluation; roles and accountabilities, culture, climate and communication.

The results reveal that across employment systems, roles and accountabilities is a pathway where equity could be stronger. The results suggest that organizations are not consistently holding leaders accountable for equity in different employment systems. According to survey respondents, the share of organizations with limited or no accountability from leaders on ensuring equity varies considerably across employment systems. Here is a detailed breakdown of the results:

  • Job structures62 percent
  • Employee resources and supports57 percent
  • Training and career development55 percent
  • Supervision and mentoring51 percent
  • Promotions49 percent
  • Recruitment and hiring43 percent
  • Separations40 percent
  • Performance assessment and feedback39 percent
  • Orientation and onboarding39 percent
  • Compensation and benefits37 percent

Media: To request an interview, contact Eddie Burke of SHRM Media Relations at Edward.burke@shrm.org  or 202.321.5026.

Methodology

A sample of 1,062 U.S. organizations were surveyed using the SHRM Voice of Work panel. The survey was fielded from Aug. 19, 2022, to Aug. 31, 2022. Data were weighted to reflect the population of U.S. organizations. The margin of error is approximately + 3.76 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on SHRM to be their go-to resource for all things work and their business partner in creating next-generation workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at SHRM.org and on Twitter @SHRM.

About the Boston College School of Social Work

Ranked No. 11 by the U.S. News & World Report, the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW) is a global leader in social work education, dedicated to finding solutions to the pressing social issues of our time through pioneering practice and research. Grounded in Boston College's 159-year tradition of service, the BCSSW pursues the highest standards of intellectual rigor alongside a deep commitment to social justice, developing practitioners and training scholars engaged in translational research to improve the lives of others. Housed within the BCSSW, the Center for Social Innovation acts as a crucial resource and force multiplier—supporting novel solutions to complex challenges, convening Boston College faculty and members of the communities where we work, and combining research that adopts a variety of approaches. 

About WorkRise

WorkRise is a research-to-action network on jobs, workers and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute. WorkRise accomplishes its mission by funding research on practices, policies and programs that have the potential to strengthen economic security and mobility for workers earning low wages, as well as foundational labor market research. 

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