Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Face a Sharp Decline Three Years After George Floyd


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By Helen Bezuneh, The AFRO

Three years after the surge in DEI initiatives prompted by the murder of George Floyd, there has been a substantial reduction in the hiring of DEI workers within corporations. (Unsplash / Amy Elting)

In the aftermath of the widely publicized police killing of George Floyd in 2020, the U.S. faced what was commonly referred to as a “racial reckoning.” During this period, corporations and universities rushed to issue public statements expressing not only their dedication to advancing racial justice, but also pledging to implement explicit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI), such as the diversification of the workforce. However, three years later, several corporations have proceeded to lay off numbers of DEI workers amid far-right backlash to diversity programs.

Wells Fargo, American Airlines and Glassdoor lead the list of companies with the largest declines in their share of diverse new hires from July 2022 to February 2023, according to Revelio Labs, a workforce analytics company. Wells Fargo’s share declined by 4.65 percent, American Airlines’ share shrunk by 3.35 percent and Glassdoor’s share waned by 5.81 percent. Attrition rates for DEI roles have exceeded those of non-DEI roles at more than 600 U.S. companies that implemented workforce reductions since late 2020.


Following the recent Supreme Court decision to eliminate affirmative action in colleges, DEI efforts across varied sectors have encountered harsh criticism. Many argue that this has led to the downsizing of DEI teams within corporations, influenced in part by diminishing pressure on companies to meet demands for equity.

Read what Black employees have to say on the matter in the full article.

Some companies say a change in terminology will change things for the better.

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