Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Understanding Diversity Metrics

DE&I Analytics

How serious are companies really about diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

Like everyone, I have been following the talk and proclamations about the need to get serious about Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. During the last year, I have got a real sense that there is a lot more intent to actually try to tackle some of the challenges in this area in the quest to create a working world that is basically “fair.”

It doesn’t seem too much of an ask on paper, and I would want to believe that our systems, processes, and cultures have not been deliberately designed this way, they have just evolved over the years this way, from a time when no real thought was given to this.

When we look at the data points, we can clearly see the disparity in areas like pay, accessibility, and our new hires look remarkably similar. As a recruiter, I always insisted that I would introduce any candidate who I thought would navigate their way through the interview process. The hiring manager, after all, made all the real decisions, and pay grades were, well, out of my pay grade! If we believe this is not intentional, how do we look beyond the “way we have always done things”, and make the changes we need to achieve outcomes that give everyone the same opportunities to be successful, not just in getting hired but in their careers in our organizations.

I’m really interested in trying to measure the level of intent within organizations as a check against whether this is another publicity stunt or if companies really mean to walk the talk. Over the next few years, I'm going to be working with Horsefly Analytics to index data points like pay gaps, new appointments, promotions, and board memberships to see how this story unfolds.

In the meantime, I give data scientists a challenge to find data points that would prove some level of execution on this commendable intent. Is this noise? Like the annual short term rainbow wash many organizations go through each year when Pride comes around, or is this real intent?

I was aware that this was quite a big ask of Horsefly Analytics, but I'm not into asking the easy questions of tech companies, not least when I endorse them. The measure they came back with as a “today” data point was to record the number of roles currently advertised that specifically focussed on equity, diversity, and inclusion now, compared to 18 months ago, pre-covid.

Normally, I would have wanted to look at a year on year comparison, but when we look at labor market insights, there were too many anomalies during lockdown, and when covid was really biting to make a fair comparison. We have to look at data, and trend lines, BC: Before covid, and AC: After covid. (Whilst I fully understand we are far from over covid yet, we are returning to degrees of normality, enough to bring some meaning to trends measured from June 2020.

The exciting result that came back is that organizations hiring individuals dedicated to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion is up by 90% (June 20 to Jan 21), during the same period of time, the labor market in general increased by 70%, showing that Equity, Diversity & Inclusion roles are outperforming the market. 

Diversity and Inclusion Labor Market Analysis Chart

I asked Horsefly Analytics CEO Will Crandle to explain a little more about how this was calculated and how they were able to draw the headline grabbing conclusion that Equity, Diversity & Inclusion roles were up 130%. This is how Will explains it:

Goal: Investigate whether or not there is a preponderance of Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) roles in recent times.

We compared Horsefly’s D&I job market data to labor data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and observed near identical trends until June 2020. As we’ve seen with other studies (e.g. Home Office), the “COVID-19 dip” colors pretty much everything up until June 2020. June 2020 then became our starting point and the metric used to measure was uplift which in this case is defined as percentage increase between June 2020 and January 2021 (last month of ONS figures available).

The diversity market shows a 91% increase from June to January, and this compares favorably to the labor market in general, which increases by 70%. The ratio of 91:70 is 1.3:1 or 130%.

ED&I roles are seen to outperform the market by a ratio of 130% using all available data for the post COVID-19 dip.”

This looks to be a good news story. Real change starts with intent and building resources for execution. I think it is important because when organizations hire specific individuals to take on these types of roles, it is more than rainbow wash. They will come with an expectation of outcomes and with some accountability. This is a good indication of provable intent beyond noise. Will keep you informed as further trends unfold. 

Horsefly has recently launched it's own Diversity Data set, which can help narrow in on where to find diverse candidates you want to hire and benchmark your current team.

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