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: Tech companies scaled back ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ teams last year amid backlash, report says

The tech industry saw a rollback in wage equity last year, while also shrinking its diversity, equity and inclusion teams, a new report shows.

The recruiting platform Hired said this week that wage gaps widened in 2022 for women and men of all racial and ethnic groups except white and Asian women, though there was some narrowing in certain regions. In addition, out of 229 hiring leaders surveyed by Hired, 20% of respondents said their companies had scaled back their teams over the past 12 months.

After the 2020 police murder of George Floyd, a Black man, spurred nationwide protests calling for racial justice, tech and other companies proclaimed their support and in some cases increased funding for workplace diversity and equity programs. Taking into account studies that have shown that diversity helps boost companies’ performance, those programs aim to boost recruiting, hiring, retention and promotion of traditionally underrepresented groups.

But tech layoffs that began last summer have affected companies’ DEI staff, according to the hiring managers surveyed — 12% of whom said their DEI programs were “more at risk for cutbacks in the future if the economy tightens.”

‘We see what’s going on in the anti-DEI movement. We see it in our survey data.’

— Erica Yamamoto, senior vice president of marketing at Hired

While the survey also found that 51% of those managers said their DEI teams were a “must-have,” 20% said their companies’ DEI efforts were “more show than substance” and 14% said DEI programs create an unfair advantage for some groups. Hired said one anonymous manager who responded to the survey commented, “I wish DEI would go away.”

Erica Yamamoto, the senior vice president of marketing at Hired, said Wednesday in an interview with MarketWatch that “we all read the headlines. We see what’s going on in the anti-DEI movement. We see it in our survey data.” Yamamoto said the trend is “definitely worrying,” and that the next year may show “how companies will demonstrate the allyship they spoke of in the last several years.”

From the archives (April 2023): Three years after companies doubled down on DEI, ‘the pendulum swings back.’ Here’s why.

From the archives (November 2022): Racial diversity in management linked to positive financial performance, new analysis shows

Meanwhile, Black men made 93 cents for every dollar white men made in 2022, down from 95 cents for every dollar in 2021, according to the report. For Black women, that figure was 90 cents last year vs. 92 cents the previous year. For Hispanic men, it was 97 cents vs. 99 cents in 2021, and for Hispanic women, 92 cents vs. 93 cents in 2021. Asian men, who made $1.04 for every dollar white men made in 2021, saw a decline to $1.02 in 2022.

Only Asian women’s pay compared with white men improved, to 99 cents for every dollar in 2022 vs. 98 cents in 2021, while for white women that figure remained at 95 cents.

Hired, whose data was based on tens of thousands of job offers in tech and sales from more than 5,000 companies, attributed the widening wage gap to a widening expectation gap. Only 25% of women and 39% of men surveyed said they felt they had enough knowledge to ask for compensation in line with their market, role and experience. The survey also found that women with more job experience expected a wider wage gap than women with less experience, perhaps because the women with more experience had lower salaries earlier in their careers.

See: As the Equal Pay Act turns 60, ‘an uneven playing field’ remains. Here’s where pay equity stands.

Still, Yamamoto pointed to some bright spots related to pay equity. The Hired report mentions that salary-transparency legislation has helped drive positive outcomes in places such as New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where gender wage and expectation gaps narrowed after the laws went into effect. The laws require employers to disclose salary ranges to job applicants.

“I’m optimistic,” Yamamoto said, adding that companies can only do so much to try to ensure changes that affect equity. “But for systemic change, private and public partnership coming together can make an impact.”

From the archives (December 2022): It should be much easier to know how much a job pays in 2023

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