How Companies Are Bringing Social Justice Protests to the Workplace - Glassdoor for Employers

How Companies Are Bringing Social Justice Protests to the Workplace

Recent events have ignited nationwide protests and elevated issues surrounding social justice and racial inequities into the forefront of the national conversation. The increasing integration of public and corporate spheres means that many companies feel an obligation to speak out both to consumers and their own employees, who increasingly want leaders to weigh in and lend support.

While companies are talking the talk, employees are expecting them to also walk the walk. 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. 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.

A new study conducted by the Glassdoor Economic Research team examines Glassdoor reviews to better understand how employers are communicating and acting on commitments to improve diversity & inclusion within their workplaces. This analysis provides a crucial, unique look into how employees feel about their companies' response and actions.

Here are the key findings from the Glassdoor Economic Research study entitled Diversity Now: How Companies and Workers Are Bringing Nationwide Social Justice Protests to the Workplace:

Diversity & Inclusion Roles Have Taken a Hit During COVID-19

Diversity and inclusion-related job openings declined at twice the rate (-60%) as overall job postings following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from March through early June. This drop is partially due to the nature of D&I-related jobs. Most D&I jobs are in HR departments, which typically are hit hard during recessions. However, D&I job openings have since rebounded 55 percent as racial justice has taken center stage. Another encouraging sign is that job openings for D&I executive and leadership roles such as "Chief Diversity Officer", "Head of Diversity & Inclusion" and "Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion", have more than doubled since early June, increasing 2.6 times. This signals that companies increasingly are making diversity and inclusion a priority at the highest levels.

Related: Struggling to Kick Off Diversity & Inclusion Efforts? Start With This Checklist

Companies Are Calling Out Racial Inequality

More companies (300+) expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledged the reality of systemic racism and racial injustice, something that hadn't happened before May's protests. Many companies issued statements in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing and the ensuing protests. Notably, companies are shifting their language. Phrases like "racial injustice" and "systemic racism" that had never been used previously in company updates on Glassdoor appeared in dozens of statements in May and June. Similarly, 92 companies posted explicitly about "Black Lives Matter", compared to 0 across all of 2019. Many released personal statements from their CEOs, offering support to Black employees and committing to improve diversity and inclusion efforts within their companies.

Learn more: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Employees Are Becoming More Vocal About Workplace Equality Efforts

Employee reviews on Glassdoor discussing diversity, racial justice, Black Lives Matter and similar topics rose 63 percent following the week of May 25, as nationwide protests stirred dialogue about racial inequality among employees and leaders. 71 percent of these reviews expressed concern or dissatisfaction with companies' responses. These sustained references in employee reviews to diversity and race reveal that employees are mostly dissatisfied with either companies' current efforts and responses to the protests, with many reviews describing personal experiences with workplace inequality.

Related: How to Talk About Race with Employees

To read the full report and learn about methodology, visit Glassdoor Economic Research.