Related Expertise: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A Closer Look at the Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Companies must take a more comprehensive approach to diversity and apply a more nuanced lens to analyze diversity data. Each approach to DEI will—and should—vary considerably depending on many factors, such as industry and geography, that are unique to each organization.

 

This interactive dashboard features a small subset of data from BCG’s 2020 diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey, which comprises responses from approximately 20,000 people in 16 countries.

A More Diverse Definition of DEI

DEI initiatives are generally based upon assumptions rather than data. Employees are boxed into broad categories—Black, LGBTQ, female—and change and diversity management programs are developed to meet the needs of these groups.

But this aggregate approach often overlooks the identities that actually define the workplace experience for employees. A Black employee can also identify as LGBTQ and be a caregiver for an elderly parent. A white male employee might have a physical disability and work visa considerations. Diversity comes in many forms.

Consequently, companies must reframe their approach to DEI and embrace deaveraging as essential for building the right DEI strategy. The future of diversity demands that companies:

  • Consider the vast range of identities that their employees embrace
  • Take a more holistic view of the solutions and initiatives offered to effect diversity and organizational change
  • Ground all these efforts in the unique context of their individual organization and workforce

Tapping Data to Drive Change and Diversity Management

At BCG, we use data-driven insights to help companies understand the broad range of identities that influence how their employees perform at work, including elements of identities that are invisible or do not naturally fit inside the core set of categories that employers have traditionally focused on.

The interactive featured above highlights a subset of data from our 2020 DEI survey, which comprised approximately 20,000 people in 16 countries. Respondents represented a broad range of industries and a wide variety of levels within organizations that employed at least 1,000 people. The tool features country-specific racial and ethnic groupings, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors.

We found that when people around the world were asked whether their company was doing enough in DEI, the answers varied significantly depending on the geographical context. Employees in Brazil, India, and Spain were much more likely to say their company is already doing too much in DEI when compared with other countries.

We also asked employees if a company’s inclusive culture—or lack of it—has ever affected their decision to apply for or resign from a job. Deaveraging the responses by various attributes leads to deeper insights: for example, in the US, we find that younger people are more likely than older people to report making pivotal decisions on the basis of a company’s inclusiveness—even though older respondents’ longer careers have afforded them more opportunities to make such decisions.

At the same time, as the interactive highlights, seniority also matters. A higher percentage of executives report making job decisions on the basis of company culture than junior staff do, even though executives are more likely to be older employees. These findings reinforce trends highlighting the growing concern that younger generations as a whole express about DEI—while also exemplifying the importance of analyzing the intersection of a multitude of attributes to discover what matters most to employees.

Unlocking Human Potential

With access to these kinds of data-driven insights, companies gain the power to make a huge leap forward in diversity and organizational change. With a more comprehensive approach to diversity, they can unlock the bolder intent and aspiration of DEI efforts: enabling each employee in the organization to thrive, which ultimately fuels long-term, sustainable business advantage for the company.

Learn More About the Future of Diversity and BCG’s Approach to DEI

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