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Help Wanted: D&I E
CTDO Magazine

Help Wanted: D&I Experts

Friday, June 15, 2018

With more companies pushing for diverse and inclusive work environments, D&I experts are increasingly in demand.

Employer demand for diversity and inclusion professionals has jumped substantially. That's according to new data from the Indeed Hiring Lab, which reports that diversity and inclusion postings are 35 percent higher than two years ago. Postings for D&I experts fluctuated around the same level from 2014 through 2016. But in early 2017, postings hit a historical high and, after slumping later in the year, rose again at the beginning of 2018.

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"As the labor market continues to tighten, companies are finding the need to appeal to as many candidates as possible. Part of this means ensuring that their workplace culture attracts and retains diverse talent," says Daniel Culbertson, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab with a focus on the U.S. and Canadian labor markets. "To that end, many large companies have started employing professionals that specialize in diversity and inclusion initiatives."

It is difficult to pinpoint a single event behind the spurt in employer demand, but there is little doubt that emphasis on diverse and inclusive work environments is on the rise. It's likely a response to a growing body of research that indicates diverse and inclusive teams outperform their peers. For instance, Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report reveals that companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.

Those numbers concur with McKinsey's 2018 study, Delivering through Diversity, which reaffirms the global relevance of the link between diversity and company financial outperformance. Its analysis draws on a data set of more than 1,000 companies covering 12 countries, measuring profitability and longer-term value creation.

McKinsey defines diversity in the workplace as a greater proportion of women and a more mixed ethnic and cultural composition in the leadership of large companies. The data find that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability. And for ethnic and cultural diversity, the finding was a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance.

So, how are these top-performing companies taking the lead in leveraging D&I?

According to McKinsey, the diversity agenda must start at the top, with many companies publicly committing to D&I. Deloitte adds, "The era of diversity as a ‘check the box' initiative owned by HR is over."

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McKinsey also asserts that leading companies use targeted thinking to prioritize D&I initiatives in which they invest, and they ensure there is alignment with the overall growth strategy. Deloitte agrees, noting that organizations should consider making "structural changes, implementing transparent, data-driven solutions, and immersing executives in the world of bias to give them a visceral understanding of how bias impacts decision making, talent decisions, and business outcomes."

This sort of targeted action and structural change requires someone to take the helm of day-to-day activities. It's no surprise that Indeed is showing more postings for D&I experts. Fortunately, searches for D&I positions are also on the upswing. As of January 2018, the number of candidates looking for a job in this field was up 8 percent compared to the past two years.

"Whatever the cause for the recent, dramatic rise in employer demand for diversity and inclusion roles, the good news is that job seekers' interest in these roles has consistently escalated," says Culbertson.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently sources and authors content for TD Magazine and CTDO, as well as manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs. Contact her at [email protected] 

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