Technology Firms Send Diversity Czars Packing In Bid To Become More Profitable
Equality and diversity concept. Multi-colored wooden figurines on a blackboard.
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Technology companies introducing mass layoffs in a bid to control costs and increase profits are dismissing employees who oversee diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, also known as DEI.

Several prominent firms, from social media companies Meta and Twitter to software behemoths Microsoft and Salesforce, have reduced headcounts as elevated consumer demand, which followed the lockdown-induced recession, began to slow. More than 93,000 workers have been dismissed from technology firms so far in 2023, according to a report from Crunchbase, even after companies in the sector nixed some 140,000 positions last year.

DEI employees have seen an elevated degree of attrition relative to their colleagues since late 2020, with the trend accelerating in the last six months, according to an analysis from Revelio Labs. “Bearing in mind the typically small size of DEI teams,” Revelio said, “these outflows likely amount to the exodus of entire diversity teams.”

More than 300 DEI professionals have left companies such as Amazon, Intel, and Twitter since the middle of last year.

Revelio added that companies with DEI teams tend to be more racially diverse; the dismissal of DEI staffers “signals the value that companies place on making diversity and inclusion a priority for the future.”

Critics of the DEI movement observe that proponents advocate the mingling of racial or sexual identity with critical hiring decisions, leading to a decline in overall profitability and efficiency as efforts to merely hire the most qualified candidates are deprioritized. Diversity specialists nevertheless earn an average of $84,000 per year in base pay, $11,000 per year in bonuses, and $19,000 per year in stock benefits for expected annual compensation ranging between $90,000 and $148,000, according to an estimate from Glassdoor.

Bloated headcounts and excessive compensation have drawn the attention of numerous Silicon Valley investors and hedge fund managers. Children’s Investment Fund Management CEO Christopher Hohn told Google CEO Sundar Pichai that “cost discipline is now required as revenue growth is slowing,” while Altimeter Capital Management CEO Brad Gerstner pressed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to reverse the “lack of focus and fitness” at the company.

DEI consultants witnessed a deluge of enthusiasm from corporations following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in the spring of 2020 and a resultant increase in social justice activism. Some 39% of companies offered diversity programs in 2020 compared to 29% in 2019, a figure which later rose to 43% in 2021, according to an analysis from Glassdoor. In 2022, however, 41% of workplaces offered diversity programs, marking a decline from the previous year.

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