Diversity in the Workplace Statistics: Job Seeker Survey Reveals What Matters
Our diversity recruiting surveys uncover changing perceptions and gaps between what job seekers want and what companies are doing.
Read on to find out what today’s job seekers think about workplace diversity.
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- Why Workplace and Workforce Diversity Statistics Matter
- Job Candidates Demand Workplace Diversity
- Seeing Is Believing
- What Matters Most to Top Talent
- How Does a Diverse Workforce Impact the Workplace?
- What Candidate Expect of Employers
- How Companies Should Drive Diversity
- What’s Next for Employers and Diversity Recruiting?
The surveys were conducted online within the United States by SurveyMonkey Audience on behalf of Yello between September 16 and September 26, 2019. They surveyed 500 full- and part-time employees, aged 18-73 and 250 full-time talent acquisition or recruitment professionals, aged 18+ in the United States.
Throughout this article are comparisons to The 2018 Yello Diversity Study. The 2018 survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Yello between August 6 and August 8, 2018. It surveyed 1,206 employed adults (ages 18+) referred to as employees in this report.
Please note: The same populations and methodologies were not used between 2018 and 2019, and therefore, the two reports are not a direct comparison. However, we believe the results raise important questions for employers to consider as they define strategies to attract, engage, interview and hire talent to build a diverse workforce.
Employees Share Their Thoughts on Diversity
Of the 500 full- and part-time employees who participated in the survey:
- 50% are women, 46% are men and 3% are non-binary
- 13% are members of the LGBTQ community and 8% are allies
- 61% identify with a religion
- 13% are military veterans or service members
- 18% self-identify as having a disability
- 32% are age 18 to 29; 30% are age 33 to 44; 24% are age 45 to 60 and 14% are over 60
- 12% are Hispanic/Latino; 66% are white; 15% are African American/Black; 4% are Asian; 4% are Pacific Islanders; 2% are two or more races
Why Workplace and Workforce Diversity Statistics Matter
It’s a buyers’ market, and we are not talking about homes or cars – we are talking about jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more job openings than people looking for jobs. Companies are facing the tightest labor market in almost 50 years, and workforce demographics are changing faster than anyone anticipated (women make up almost half the workforce and, within decades, people of color will become the majority). Employers are stepping up their game to compete and win valued talent, but job seekers have the leverage to choose the employer that best meets their needs. So, what are job seekers looking for in a workplace?
Good pay, benefits, career progression, skills growth, and an opportunity to make a difference probably come to mind. How about workplace diversity? Does it really matter to job seekers? Is it reflected in your company’s recruiting strategy? Do your diversity recruiting efforts align with employee perceptions and preferences?
Get insights and answers, as we share the perceptions, shifts and gaps uncovered by our diversity recruiting benchmark surveys.
Job Candidates Demand Workplace Diversity
Just in case you had any doubts: workplace diversity matters. In fact, more than four out of every five employees responding to this year’s survey agree that employee diversity is important.
This is similar to last year’s findings, where 82% of respondents indicated they consider diversity part of an ideal workplace. It looks like employers agree – 87% of respondents to the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report say their leaders believe diversity recruitment is important and should be a priority.
— Jyl Feliciano, Head of Inclusive and Campus Recruitment Programs, Conagra Brands
Not just a nice-to-have, 70% of employees go as far as saying they’d consider looking for a new job if their employer didn’t demonstrate a commitment to promoting a diverse workplace (that’s another big shift from 2018, when 54% of respondents felt the same way). So diversity impacts retention, too.
Where do today’s employers stand on diversity recruiting strategies?
Seeing Is Believing
— Tom Alexander, CEO and Co-Founder, Holistic
Gap Alert! While seeing diversity during the interview process is important to most employees, the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report results indicate just a little more than one in five companies include team members from underrepresented groups in the hiring process. In fact, out of several recruiting tactics, talent acquisition experts indicate this is the tactic they use the least.
To find out which tactic came in first for driving success, download The Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report today.
“Employees rank age as the most important type of workplace diversity. This is interesting because age isn’t often considered in diversity recruiting efforts, though it is a big topic for HR professionals since we have five generations in the workforce today. What’s more, age impacts everyone—we all grow old—so this raises important questions about ageism. Are HR leaders doing enough to combat ageism in the workplace?”
— Jen Meza, VP of People, Yello
What Matters Most to Top Talent
We asked employees what types of workplace diversity matter most. Responses show inherent traits like age, race and gender diversity top the list while acquired traits like marriage, parental and military status rank lowest.
- Age has moved into the top spot, pushing race/ethnicity into second. (Could this be because a fourth generation of employees – Gen Z – entered the workforce this year?)
- Gender diversity has become more valued than personality. (Does this have any connection to headline news on gender equality?)
- Of acquired traits, personality continues to rate highest. (How is this affected by the unconscious bias that may arise when companies look for culture fit?)
With just 1 in 12 people in the workforce actively looking for work, even the lowest ranked survey options make a difference to competing for and winning talent, as well as employee retention.
— Michelle Y. Bess, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director, Sprout SocialPay parity is by far the most important workplace diversity initiative, according to respondents. This is followed by accommodations for people with disabilities, and flexible work options. Training, mentoring and pronoun preference initiatives are least important out of the choices provided, but they still have some support.
Gap Alert! One of the top three most important initiatives for workers isn’t as big a priority for employers. Find out which one in the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report.
What tactics are employers using to increase workplace diversity?
Download the Employer Benchmark Report
How Does a Diverse Workforce Impact the Workplace?
Gap Alert! When we asked employers why diversity recruiting is important, they ranked the items above in a completely different order, with one exception – job satisfaction. Learn more in the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report.
— Michelle Kim, Co-Founder and CEO, Awaken
What Candidates Expect of Employers
Employers are facing the tightest labor market in almost 50 years. Find out how to build a successful diversity recruiting program.
— Scott Wintrip, Author, High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant
How Companies Should Drive Diversity
- 42% of employers are posting roles on specialized job boards; only 21% of employee survey respondents consider this important.
- Committing to interview candidates from underrepresented groups ranked third for employees, but fourth for employers. The same holds true for recruiting those with non-traditional backgrounds.
- Employers say recruiting at national diversity conferences ranks fourth (29%), while employees indicate this tactic is least important out of the choices given.
- Having employees from underrepresented groups on the hiring team seems to be more important to employees than employers.
It gets even more interesting when we look at how employers rank tactics by what’s most successful (hint: the most successful approaches aren’t the ones most companies use). Download the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report to learn more.
— Daniel Muzquiz, President and Chairman, The Predictive Index
What’s Next for Employers and Diversity Recruiting?
Have no doubt about it – workplace diversity is important, not only as a retention tool, but also as a key driver of recruiting success. Companies and talent acquisition experts need to pay attention. A diverse workforce can be a make-or-break point when employees are deciding to accept a job or leave one. And, employee perceptions about workplace diversity are changing fast.
In just one year, employee respondents have reprioritized what aspect of diversity is top of mind (from race to age) and where it has the biggest impact (from job satisfaction to pay equity). At the same time, there are some gaps between employee and employer perceptions of workplace diversity worthy of further exploration:
- Employers aren’t necessarily investing in what’s most important to employees.
- Diversity and inclusion initiatives that are most important to employers don’t necessarily have the biggest impact according to employees.
- What employees think affects diversity recruiting and what talent acquisition experts think are two different things.
Read the Diversity Recruiting: Employer Benchmark Report to:
- Gain a glimpse of some leading-edge diversity recruiting practices
- See where your efforts stand compared to other employers
- Learn actions to drive diversity recruiting progress and success