Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are increasingly recognized fundamental principles for promoting an equitable and productive work, education and community environment.
Diversity, equity and inclusion have become a priority for professionals and business leaders. Despite the uncertainty resulting from changes in macroeconomic conditions, 78% of HR professionals and business leaders have made the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) a priority over the past year, with 88% of organizations having a specific budget for these initiatives, a 3% increase over the global average. This is what emerges from a study commissioned by Workday and conducted by Sapio Research on 2,600 managers from 19 countries, who hold roles of responsibility in diversity initiatives within their organizations.
According to the research, most organizations demonstrated a high degree of commitment to DE&I, with 66% of respondents indicating that the push to implement such initiatives came from within the organization. Furthermore, 38% highlighted the equal contribution of managers and employees in promoting these initiatives.
Diversity, equity, inclusion: what is it?
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are three interconnected concepts that are increasingly recognized as essential elements for creating a fair, supportive and productive environment in various contexts, including workplaces, educational institutions and communities.
In a corporate context, the term DE&I refers to the set of organizational policies aimed at guaranteeing the same rights and opportunities for all team members, regardless of differences in gender, age, ethnicity, religion, ideology, ability and sexual orientation. These three concepts are intrinsically connected to each other and are considered as a single essential element for creating a work environment that is fair, inclusive and respectful of diversity.
There diversity refers to the presence of a wide range of differences between team members, which may be personal or professional in nature; the objective is not only to accept these differences, but to actively enhance them, recognizing that they contribute to the richness and creativity of the work group.
L’equity involves ensuring that all people have access to the same opportunities for growth, development and professional advancement, regardless of their personal characteristics.
L’inclusion consists of creating a work environment in which each individual feels welcome, respected and valued for their uniqueness; this involves adopting policies and practices that foster the active involvement of all team members, encouraging participation and openness to different perspectives and experiences.
A company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion positions itself more competitively on the job market, as it is able to attract and retain talents of different origins and backgrounds; furthermore, it demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and building an inclusive and long-term sustainable corporate culture.
Significant investments for DE&I initiatives
McKinsey’s 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report offers an eye-opening perspective on the current state of DE&I initiatives at companies around the world. Despite significant investments already made in 2020, which amounted to $7.5 billion, this spending is expected to increase significantly to $15.4 billion by 2026.
However, despite efforts and investments, the report highlights a disconcerting reality: the gender gap in the global economy, one of many aspects of diversity in the world of work, is not closing fast enough. According to current estimates, it will still take another 151 years to fill it completely.
However, DE&I values are not only an ethical issue, but also an imperative necessity for companies that wish to remain competitive in the global market. Attention to these issues can also be clearly seen among candidates and employees, as demonstrated by data from Randstad’s Employer Brand Research.
Priority in choosing an employer
Globally, 27.05% of interviewees consider DE&I issues a priority when choosing an employer. This number increases significantly among young people aged between 18 and 24, as well as among people with a high level of education, confirming that the new generations and those who are more educated are particularly sensitive to these issues.
Consideration of diversity and inclusion
In Italy, around half of employees take into consideration a company’s ability to respect diversity and ensure inclusion when choosing an employer. This indicates that DE&I is not only an aspiration of companies, but also a practical and concrete consideration for Italian workers.
Preference for companies in line with its values
12% of Italian respondents, with an even higher percentage among young people between 18 and 24, say they would prefer to remain unemployed rather than work for a company that does not reflect their values. This highlights how important it is for workers to find an employer who is aligned with their principles and beliefs, including respect for diversity and inclusion.
In short, it is clear that DE&I is no longer an optional choice for companies, but an imperative necessity. Investing in DE&I policies and practices is not only ethically right, but it is also essential to attract and retain qualified talent, maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace, and ensure the long-term success and sustainability of the organization, regardless of industry and size.