While a majority of workers believe their companies have made some strides in diversity, most say little progress has been made in the last 12 months.
Two-thirds of workers — 66% — rated their companies as “somewhat” or “very” diverse, according to a new survey by The Manifest, a website that provides information for entrepreneurs. However, with younger workers in particular putting a high premium on diversity, the survey suggests that more work remains to build inclusive workplaces.
A renewed focus on diversity
Diversity has been top of mind for many throughout the year, as anti-racism protests sprang up in May after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed when a white police officer pinned him to the ground while handcuffed. Most recently, a new wave of anti-racism protests began when police officers were not charged for killing Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot by white police officers in her apartment.
Though much of the focus this year has been on the criminal justice system, a majority of workers also see racism as a problem that affects corporate America, according to an earlier survey in which 76% of workers said racism is a problem in the workplace.
Despite the attention being given to issues of diversity, most respondents to The Manifest’s survey believe their own employers have done little to create a more diverse workplace recently. More than three-fourths of workers — 78% — said they did not notice any changes in their companies related to diversity in the last year.
On top of that, 15% of respondents said their companies are not diverse at all.
The value of a diverse workplace
One thing that is apparent from the survey: Diversity means different things to different people. When asked about the benefits of being part of a diverse workforce, respondents said that it:
- Helps them learn more from co-workers (59%)
- Leads to increased creativity (46%)
- Provides a better sense of belonging (45%)
- Increases their pride in their company (44% )
- Makes them feel safe at work (34%)
- Leads to increased productivity (33%)
Younger employees appear to have a higher appreciation for diversity initiatives than their older counterparts. Millennial employees — defined by The Manifest as those born in 1981 or later — were the most likely to say that diversity gave them a greater sense of belonging. In fact, 57% of millennials said a sense of belonging is a benefit of workplace diversity, compared to 48% of baby boomers and 45% of Generation X employees who felt that way.
Overall, some support for diversity initiatives can be found across all generations and demographics. Even those who may not be as impacted by diversity initiatives see the value in it, as an earlier survey found that most white men recognize the importance of a diverse workforce.
Methodology: The Manifest surveyed 400 full-time employees across the U.S. The age breakdown of respondents is as follows: 25% were between the ages of 18 to 34, 40% were between the ages of 35 to 54 and 22% were 55 and older; 12% did not give their age.