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Glassdoor reports that diversity and inclusion gap in the workforce is growing

  • April 30, 2021
Diverse businesspeople gathered together for negotiations lead by african businesswoman

Employees of different racial and ethnic groups disagree about the current state of workplace diversity and inclusion, according to a just-released report from Glassdoor Economic Research, “America’s Workplace Diversity Crisis: Measuring Gaps in Diversity Inclusion Satisfaction by Employee Race and Ethnicity.” The new data was gathered through a large sample of anonymous Glassdoor ratings that include employee sentiment about DI at work and the self-identified race and ethnicity of those employees.

The latest GER report stated it found “strong evidence that workers from different racial and ethnic groups disagree about the current state of workplace DI at their companies.”

Overall, it continued, “Black workers report an average DI rating of 3.49 out of five stars, well below the average of 3.73 stars across all workers. By contrast, Asian workers report above-average DI ratings of 3.98 stars, while Hispanic/Latinx workers report ratings of 3.80 stars.” This new analysis shows a small increase in a separate analysis from GER’s February 2021 findings: overall company ratings by Black employees are at a below average 3.3 rating, compared with the then Glassdoor average of 3.5.

GER used a statistical model to determine whether DI sentiment differs among racial and ethic groups, taking into account the differences in employees’ occupations, industries, company sizes, genders, lengths of time on the job and more. Glassdoor reported that the sample it used is “remarkably close” to actual population race and ethnic makeup determined by the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. 

SEE: Juggling remote work with kids’ education is a mammoth task. Here’s how employers can help (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Critical to closing the DI gap in the workplace: “avoid allowing white voices to dominate opinions of diversity,” the report stressed. This presents a challenge, because white voices dominate 60% of the U.S. workforce and 56% of Glassdoor DI ratings, creating an overrepresentation. There is also a risk, the report said, of creating blind spots for employers who do not directly solicit feedback from and target investment in underrepresented groups.

The divergence in DI satisfaction in the enterprise “is problematic for two main reasons: 

  • First, it highlights a systematic shortfall in the workplace experience for Black employees. 
  • Second, our data points to the dangers of evaluating employee satisfaction using simple averages alone.”

SEE: Diversity: Why open source needs to work on it (TechRepublic)

Tech industry rankings

The GER compared the average DI ratings on a scale of 1 to 5.

By race/ethnicity and sector and for “information technology,” it reported the following ratings

  • White: 3.74
  • Hispanic/Latinx: 3.77
  • Black: 3.53
  • Asian: 4.02
  • Multiracial: 3.81

By race/ethnicity and occupation group, also for “information technology,” it found the following ratings

  • White: 3.79
  • Hispanic/Latinx: 4.05
  • Black: 3.69
  • Asian: 3.95
  • Multiracial: 3.92

Largest DI gaps

DI gaps vary based on industries, reported the GER.

Largest DI perception gaps between Black sentiment and all other employees in these sectors:

  • Accounting and legal
  • Consumer services
  • Travel and tourism
  • Government
  • Biotech
  • Pharmaceuticals

Smallest or indistinguishable DI perception gaps between Black sentiment and all other employees in these sectors: 

  • Media
  • Business services
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Telecommunications

In one industry—media—Black employees rated workplace DI above other employees.

No one-size-fits-all solution

GER concluded that “There is no one-size-fits-all approach for employers who are serious about cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces.” 

Their findings suggest that to remedy the gap “employers must look beyond ‘average’ employee opinion on workplace diversity, as doing so can conceal important gaps in DI sentiment among employees of different backgrounds and racial and ethnic groups. Looking deeper in this manner may reveal gaps in employee perceptions or experiences, or highlight areas of the workforce where DI programs are not reaching.” Glassdoor has a guide for employers on how to build a diversity, equity and inclusion program.

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