Our world is diverse. Our workplaces should be, too. Even in 2022, American workplaces do not accurately reflect our population. Purposeful discrimination against protected classes is illegal, but that shouldn’t be the only reason employers seek a more diverse workforce. Different backgrounds and experiences lead to a robust exchange of ideas. These diversity in the workplace statistics reveal what’s happening in our modern job market.
Understanding the importance of workplace diversity and its barriers can help employers work toward a more varied workforce. Here are 11 statistical insights into workplace diversity.
The importance of workplace diversity
Just how important is workplace diversity? These workplace diversity statistics show it’s a major factor in choosing and retaining employment.
1. 67% of employees report diversity is an important factor when considering a job (1)
You might have found the perfect candidate, but if your workplace lacks diversity, you could miss out. Over two thirds of American workers say that diversity is a top consideration when applying for and accepting a job.
2. 70% of diverse companies are more likely to capture new markets (2)
Having a diverse workforce makes a company more likely to capture new markets. Working with people from different backgrounds fosters more innovation, which directly impacts how fast your company can scale up and dominate new markets.
3. 83% of millennials are more likely to be engaged when working for an inclusive company (2)
Millennials—born between 1981 and 1996—consider inclusivity and diversity a crucial factor in selecting a job. This generation reports that they’re more likely to be engaged at work when they are part of a diverse workforce.
4. 87% of diverse teams are better at making decisions (2)
The old saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” doesn’t apply to diverse teams. In fact, when a team includes people of varied ages, genders, and backgrounds, they’re actually better at making decisions than individuals.
5. 75% of employees will leave a job for one that is more inclusive (7)
If you want to retain your top performers, make sure your workplace is inclusive. 75% of U.S. workers revealed that they’re willing to leave a job for a more diverse workplace. Everyone wants to feel like they belong and that their contributions are appreciated.
6. 75% of employees think their workplace needs more diversity (1)
So, how do American workplaces stack up? 75% of U.S. workers think their workplace needs more diversity. As you can see from the previous statistics, inclusive workplaces are more attractive to top talent. They also increase productivity and profit. If you want to attract the right employees and benefit your business, critically evaluate your employee demographics.
7. Hiring just 1% more disabled people could increase the GDP by $25 billion (8)
There’s a profit incentive to inclusivity. If the American workforce hired just 1% more disabled people, the national GDP would go up by $25 billion. That’s a staggering statistic: not only is diversity good for employee morale and retention, it can also benefit your bottom line.
Barriers to better diversity
Implementing diversity has its own challenges. As you know, blind hiring can help us overcome our unconscious biases—but that’s only if the people in charge believe it’s important. Here are some stats on the barriers to diversity in the workplace.
8. Only 32% of executives rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue (2)
While 67% of job seekers consider diversity and inclusion a key issue, only 32% of executives agree. That’s a major discrepancy. It also highlights an opportunity for employers that are willing to improve. To attract the right candidates, take diversity seriously.
9. Only 15% of all Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs (3)
Women make up more than half of the population, but their representation at the highest levels is not equal. There are just 74 female CEOs in America’s 500 highest-grossing companies. That’s 15%. This highlights just how easy it is for companies to become complacent.
It’s also a good example of how diversity is important at all levels. The majority of Americans are not part of the C-suite. However, inclusivity is lacking everywhere—even for people at the top of their game.
10. 41% of managers say their busy schedules prohibit them from implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives (4)
So, why aren’t we making more progress overall? Priorities and workload may factor in. 41% of managers report that they’re too busy to start diversity and inclusion initiatives. Considering that only 32% of executives consider this an important issue, it’s easy to spot the barrier.
Real change is best implemented from the top down. Executives should make diversity a priority. That may include reducing managerial workload to focus on new hiring policies.
11. 24% of Black and Hispanic employees and 41% of women experience discrimination and harassment each year (6)
Diversity isn’t just important because it improves profits and employee retention. It also helps prevent workplace harassment and discrimination. 24% of Black and Hispanic employees report that they’ve experienced workplace discrimination and harassment each year. 41% of women report the same.
When you have a diverse workforce, it’s less likely that someone will be the only person of that background on their team. This makes it easier for them to speak up, without fear of harassment or discrimination. When employees are comfortable and confident, there are fewer barriers to contributing. In turn, you’ll enjoy a more productive, innovative team.
What is “blind hiring”?
Diversity and inclusion are important. Not enough companies are prioritizing an inclusive workforce. So, what’s the solution?
Blind hiring is a great way to improve workplace diversity. All of us have unconscious biases, which are influenced by pop culture, education, religion, social connections, and more. Even if we think of ourselves as open-minded, we may be relying on outdated and inaccurate biases. Most people don’t even realize they’re acting in a discriminatory manner.
Blind hiring helps employers cut down on unconscious bias. For example, the Boston Symphony Orchestra initiated a blind hiring process in the 1970s. They wanted to improve their gender diversity. By conducting blind auditions, they were able to increase the orchestra’s overall skill and quality. Women who participated in blind auditions were 25% to 46% more likely to be hired. Best of all, blind auditions encouraged more women to apply.
Implementing blind hiring practices is a win-win situation: employers are less likely to make biased decisions and the overall quality of work improves.
If you want your company to grow, a diverse workforce is key. Too many CEOs fail to prioritize inclusivity and too many managers are unable or unwilling to implement diversity initiatives. As a result, workers experience harassment and are more likely to leave for another job.
When we prioritize diversity, magic happens. Workers are more engaged and make better decisions. Companies capture new markets and improve profits. The national GDP goes up.
Let these diversity in the workplace statistics be your inspiration for improvements. Improving hiring processes and fostering inclusivity can make a big difference. When we embrace diversity, everyone wins.
1. Quantum Workplace: 6 Diversity and Inclusion Statistics You Need to Know
6. RWJF: Discrimination in America
8. Accenture: GETTING TO EQUAL: THE DISABILITY INCLUSION ADVANTAGE