Last year, 71% of companies reported they had implemented many DEI-related actions since 2020, according to KPMG’s 2022 DEI progress survey. More than eight in 10 chief human resource officers report their companies are increasing their investment in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programs, according to a Gallup survey on behalf of the Harvard Business Review. Those investments range from providing DEI-focused employee resource groups to unconscious bias training to reviews of hiring and promotion policies.
But U.S. workers are saying it’s not enough to move the needle. Only 33% of workers believe their employer has fair organizational processes in place, according to a new report released Thursday from Catalyst that surveyed over 24,000 workers from more than 20 countries, including the U.S. Women (28%) and nonbinary employees (24%) are even less likely to regard their companies as fair places to work.
Not only are so many workers seeing inequities in their organizations—a significant number of Americans say there’s no accountability. About 52% of American workers believe their companies hold leaders accountable for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, Catalyst finds. And this is not just a U.S. problem; global workers had nearly identical responses. “Right now, more than probably ever before, employees and prospective employees are looking to work for responsible organizations and they're really drawn to the types of organizations that take DEI seriously—they want to see accountability,” Emily Shaffer, report author and Catalyst’s director of research, tells Fortune.
Employees are twice as likely to say they experienced inclusion at work when their senior leaders are held accountable for meeting DEI goals. And workers are five times more likely to experience inclusion when they believe their employer has fair and equitable policies in place, Catalyst finds. This can have a huge impact on companies’ recruiting and retention efforts—particularly among younger workers. More than half of Gen Z workers refuse to consider jobs at organizations that lack diversity, and 62% report they’d be more likely to apply if a company committed to equal pay. “Change takes time, but I think what organizations really need to do is show their employees how they're making strides to accomplish their DEI goals, and how they're going to involve their employees in decision making,” Shaffer says. “It's the only way that companies are going to stay competitive.”