Diversity & Inclusion jobs surge amid U.S. social justice movements, even as economy remains in crisis

Job and recruiting site Glassdoor has published a report on how employers and employees are responding to the national movement for more racial equality within the workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the period from March 2 through June 8, Diversity & Inclusion job openings dropped 60% or double the rate of overall job postings. However, since June 8, D&I job openings are up 55%. 
Daniel Zhao, Senior Economist at Glassdoor, tells Yahoo Finance that some of the earlier contraction of D&I positions is not surprising considering the severe economic downturn that came with the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Some of that is likely due to the nature of D&I related positions,” Zhao said. “As a company, if you’re freezing hiring, you might not need additional diversity recruiters. Similarly, if you’re trying to cut costs, you might pull back on diversity training and that sort of thing. So these types of jobs might be particularly sensitive to an economic crisis.”
And so, it’s notable how sharply D&I job openings bounced back in recent weeks.
“We are still in a deep economic crisis with the public health crisis layer on top of that. So it’s possible if the economy worsened substantially that we would see a pullback and an investment from employers they faced that economic uncertainty,” Zhao noted. “That being said, this rebound has occurred in the context of an economy affected by COVID-19. The hope is that companies feel like it’s a worthwhile investment, even in a time of economic uncertainty.”
View photos
Group of mixed race business people working together in the creative office. Team building concept. Office life
According to Glassdoor, executive and leadership job openings more than doubled since June 8. In-demand roles include Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion. Zhao says it’s an encouraging sign that the investment is also occurring at high levels of senior leadership.

Talking the talk and walking the walk

Following the week of May 25, employee reviews on Glassdoor discussing diversity, racial justice, Black Lives Matter, and similar topics rose 63%, with 71% of the reviews expressing concern or dissatisfaction with the responses of some companies.
Zhao tells Yahoo Finance only time will tell if companies back up their commitments to diversity and inclusion.
“While companies are talking the talk, employees are expecting them also to walk the walk,” he said. “These expectations and dissatisfaction with employers’ response to these events and diversity- and discrimination-related issues in general, puts pressure on employers to take meaningful and not just symbolic actions.
Zhao reiterated to Yahoo Finance that it is essential to keep this new data in the context of the extraordinary times that presented themselves due to the pandemic.
“While the COVID-19 crisis may have initially pushed companies to pull back on investment in diversity & inclusion, more recent evidence now suggests that pressure and awareness from employees may be spurring companies to back up their commitments with action,” he said.

View photos
A protester holds a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter" along with other protesters on the bridge holding signs during the Peaceful Stand at the Penn Street Bridge in Reading Thursday evening July 9, 2020. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.