DEI Officers Are ‘Questioning Their Career Path’ as Demand Falls: Report

Members of the LGBT movement hold a gay pride flag as they attend a march to mark the International Day Against Homophobia in Managua, Nicaragua
July 21, 2023

Corporate officers focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion are feeling "left out in the cold" as demand for their roles plummets, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday.

Demand to fill DEI roles is hitting new lows. Jason Hanold, chief executive of Hanold Associates Executive Search, told the Journal searches for chief diversity officers are down 75 percent in the past year, hitting the lowest he has seen in his 30-year recruiting career. Diversity officers were especially vulnerable during a tech world firing spree last fall, facing 40 percent higher turnover than human resources positions.

DEI officials have  faced more recent scrutiny in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the use of race in college admissions. The ruling is expected to have ripple effects beyond college admissions, including in the corporate world. A letter from more than a dozen Republican attorneys general sent earlier this month warned companies against using racial preferences or other diversity initiatives that could be in legal jeopardy after the Court's ruling. Democratic attorneys general subsequently sent a letter pushing back on the claims, saying the affirmative action ruling will not affect corporate diversity programs.

The shift in company's prioritization of diversity initiatives has left diversity officers "questioning their career path," the Journal reported.

Diversity officers quoted in the Journal's report lamented their colleagues' reluctance to implement DEI initiatives in the workplace.

"Even if you report to the CEO, it’s still a battle and it’s a smaller budget," said Melinda Starbird, who was laid off from online marketplace OfferUp during a fall shakeup.

Published under: DEI