Why are we seeing more attention on D&I right now? When we began our recent study with Mercer, we recognized there were many factors driving the emerging market for D&I technology solutions. Here is an excerpt from that study with some of our thoughts on why D&I tech is a market that is gaining so much momentum.
There are numerous trends driving the increased attention on the D&I conversation, not least of which is the changing racial and ethnic mix of the U.S. population. Image 1, below, shows the projected growth of ethnic diversity among younger Americans through 2065.
People between ages 15 and 24 make up close to 20% of the world’s population. Further, by 2025, millennials (those born between 1980 and 1996) are expected to comprise three-quarters of the global workforce. Younger and increasingly diverse populations often bring with them evolving expectations and a willingness to bring D&I to the forefront of societal conversations.
In addition, workplaces are becoming more multicultural with global talent moving across countries and positions. Non-traditional forms of work continue to gain popularity, such as freelancing, virtual work, and short-term project-based assignments.
There is also a shortage of talent that is especially acute in knowledge industries. The financial and business services industries expect a shortage of 10.7 million candidates by 2030, which will continue to fuel this upward trend in global talent interconnectedness. These workplace changes in demographics, non-traditional workforces, and talent shortages are strong forces pushing diversity and inclusion to center stage.
The amplified attention on D&I is also due to its increasingly well-documented relationship to business outcomes. Research shows that more diverse and inclusive organizations outperform those that are not. A survey of 1,700 organizations across eight countries found that organizations with above-average total diversity had both 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher margins.
Therefore, organizational leaders are increasingly seeing D&I as critical to achieving financial goals. These trends, accelerated by the rise of #MeToo in October 2017, created a seismic shift in the discussion around sexual harassment that has spilled over into other diversity and inclusion topics such as gender identity racism, ableism, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, religion, and more. For example, 56% of millennials believe that “business leaders have a greater responsibility to speak out on social issues now than in years past.”
This growing and collective frustration has increased the desire for a new approach to diversity and inclusion.