Technology employers are making serious cuts to their DEI teams, a notable component of the wider downsizings that have taken place over the last several months. According to Layoffs.fyi, more than 150,000 workers were laid off by tech companies in 2022, with over 80,000 more following in 2023. So far.
While job postings for DEI professionals have risen in recent years, they’ve reversed course as businesses cut costs ahead of an expected economic downturn. SHRM recently reported that DEI professionals had been laid off at companies like Lyft and Twitter. Both companies, the organization said, lost most if not all of their DEI teams. The reason cited for the layoffs was the fact that DEI roles don’t contribute profit to the company’s bottom line. “Human capital investments do not provide an easily visible bottom-line return,” SHRM said, “especially for consumer tech companies, which prioritize engineering, research and development.”
More DEI Declines
At the same time, job listings for DEI roles dropped 19% during 2022, according to Textio. Meanwhile, general HR roles saw only a 13% decline. As a result, a number of business leaders and HR professionals were worried they will see diversity suffer in a number of companies suffer.
A number of companies – such as Amazon — have indicated that they have not abandoned their DEI goals, and are still committed to seeing them through, layoffs or not. Just how long that attitude will hold.
Organizations that are confronting slimmed down DEI teams don’t have to abandon goals altogether, Julie Coffman, chief diversity officer at Bain & Co., told Bloomberg. “The decisions to hire, promote and foster talented people lie across departments,” she said. “The actual job of delivering real progress on DEI outcomes does not reside in a central chief diversity officer or small DEI team alone.”