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Promises Kept: Major US Companies Increase Workforce Diversity



Major U.S. firms like Apple, Walmart, and Wells Fargo have boosted workforce diversity, particularly in managerial roles. (Shutterstock)
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In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, many of America’s largest corporations pledged to increase diversity in their workforce.

A recent analysis of data from these companies reveals that they have made significant strides in fulfilling these promises. The data set, which includes companies such as Apple, Walmart, and Wells Fargo, shows an increase in the employment of people of color, particularly in managerial and executive roles.

The reasons behind this shift are multifaceted. In 2021, amidst an economic slowdown, companies prioritized diversity in their hiring practices. This trend was evident across various job categories, including lower-paying roles and high-paying managerial positions. Black workers, who were the primary focus of these diversity initiatives, saw significant gains in their representation in managerial and executive roles.

However, despite these advancements, the overall picture remains skewed. White individuals still hold a disproportionate share of high-paying jobs at S&P 100 companies. The share of executive, managerial, and professional roles held by people of color increased by only about 2 percentage points compared to 2020.

The data also reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic played a role in these changes. Many people of color who were laid off during the early days of the pandemic were rehired when demand bounced back. The shift to remote work also allowed companies to expand their presence in more diverse regions.

Despite these gains, not all companies have increased diversity at the same rate. Some companies, such as Nike and Amazon, have made significant strides, while others, like CVS Health Corp, have seen less progress. Furthermore, underrepresented groups lost ground at 14 companies in total.

The future of these diversity initiatives remains uncertain. While the overall U.S. labor market remains robust, many companies have announced layoffs. Additionally, support for corporate diversity initiatives has waned in some quarters, leading to questions about the sustainability of these efforts.

Read more on Bloomberg.

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