rise, representation of people ofcolor decreases. Black/AfricanAmerican employees make up12% of support staff positions,but only 2% of positions at the executive level. However, Asian/Pa-cific Islander and Black/AfricanAmerican women have higherrepresentation at the executivelevels (8% and 6% respectively)than other groups of color. In fact,representation of Black/AfricanAmerican women is higher thanmen at every career level, withthe exception of the executivelevel. Organizations in the UnitedStates reported attracting peopleof color as the biggest challenge(46%).
There’s No Plan
While the majority of organiza-
tions in the report (81%) said they
were focused on improving DEI,
only 42% reported having a multi-
year, documented strategy to make
it happen. Only 50% of reporting
organizations set DEI goals, such
as representation and pay equity.
Additionally, only 33% of organiza-
tions said they had a chief diversity
or inclusion officer, and 23% of U.S.
organizations have high-potential
programs for people of color. Many
regions put DEI squarely in the HR
box instead, since HR plays the big-
gest role in attracting and retaining
talent. The study also found that
most organizations don’t connect
DEI with other areas that motivate
business decisions, and so the val-
ues associated with diversity aren’t
fully owned in the organization.
Looking Beyond Parity
Although female representation
is indeed modestly up from the
last report in 2016, Mercer said
doing what’s already been done
isn’t going to achieve gender par-
ity, which is a commonly stated
goal by most of the organizations
in the study. “The math indicates
that reaching gender parity any-
time soon will require a system-
atic over-indexing of women over
men in hiring, advancement and
retention,” the report stated. “This
is likely not a palatable or realistic
game plan for the vast majority of
The report recommended that
an organization aligns all its poli-
cies, practices and programs to
ensure not only equal representa-
tion, but equality of opportunity,
experience and pay at every level.
If an organization does wish to try
a bold move like over-indexing,
transparency is key.
The Pressure Is ComingFrom Inside the House
Several elements have come intoplay when it comes to pressuringorganizations toward progress.The rise in environmental, socialand corporate governance (ESG)has empowered stakeholders toput the spotlight on diversity. Infact, shareholder activism in general has led to support for inclusion initiatives. The report citedArjuna Capital challenging several top banks and technology giants to reveal their median gender pay gap in January 2019 as anexample.
The pressure for progress ingeneral is felt mostly by an organization’s employees, accordingto 65% of surveyed companies.However, the millennial and GenX populations have probably beenthe most critical in moving the diversity needle, as they have beenthe most vocal about their inclusion expectations. One study citedby the report showed that threeout of four millennials would takea pay cut to work for a responsibleorganization.
Managers Can Make theDifference. So Can Men
While leaders are involving
themselves in DEI efforts more
than they have in the past, Mer-
cer found that engaging middle
and frontline managers can en-
able those initiatives to spread
faster through an organization.
Participation in DEI efforts for
middle and frontline managers
is up (53% and 46% respectively),
but they’re still less involved than
senior executives. The report
called it “a major barrier (and
missed opportunity) to achieving
Another essential ingredient
for effective gender parity? Men.
“Necessary actions range from
listening to men’s perspectives to
engaging men as change agents,
managers and partners in devel-
oping and embedding solutions,”
says the report. Although D&I
conferences are mostly made up
of women, 48% of global organi-
zations said men are actively in-
volved in diversity programs and
initiatives – up from 38% in the
Pay Equity and PromotionOpportunities
Mercer reported a global increasein pay equity being included in organizations’ compensation strategies (74%, up from 60% in 2016).Ensuring fair pay relative to contributions has been the primaryfocus of analyzing pay equity for85% of surveyed organizations,while 68% have made attractingor retaining the best talent theirmain objective. However, only44% of these organizations have aformalized process for remediating pay inequities.
The report also revealed a shortage of mentorship and sponsor-ship programs, along with a lackof data collection around understanding the root causes of a lackof female career advancement.Only 52% said women are equallyrepresented in manager roles.
“The intersection of businesschange and societal change willbe critical to meeting the challenges we still face. This year’s report makes clear that we still havemuch work to do,” the report declared. ”If business leaders wantto achieve equal representationof women in the workforce, withequal participation in the economy, at equal pay, they will need tolead the way.” n
DEICONT. FROM PAGE 1
Y A new study shows despite bright spots,diversity has yet to be hardwired into mostorganizations’ cultures.
Y While 70% of organizations report increasingDEI efforts, only 50% have seen executive-leveldiversity hires.
Y Only 2% of executive-level positions consist ofBlack/African-American employees.
Note: Not all colored lines may show as a result of overlapping estimates.
39% Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10
Current and projectedfemale representation %(professionals and above)
Baseline scenario (i.e. no changes to flows)
With adjusted hiringWith adjusted promotionsWith adjusted turnoverWith simultaneous adjustments (all flows)
Even with comparable/favorabletalent flows, projections indicateit will take 10 years to increasefemale representation by just 3%
Where Will Women Be in 10 Years?
Current period 5-year projection 10-year projection
Distribution of All Employees by Race/Ethnicity and Career Level
Asian or Pacific