80+ Diversity in the Workplace Statistics


Sam Cook

Senior Content Manager and Employee Engagement Researcher

Apr 22, 2024

Diversity in the workplace was once considered an aspirational goal that many companies chose to adopt for the sake of optics. Yet an increasingly large body of research from reputable sources shows that companies with more diversity not only generate better profits but attract and retain more talent. That makes workplace DEI not just a “nice to have” but a critical business objective. From small startups to multinational corporations, diversity in the workplace carries significant benefits across the organization, from improving financial performance to driving innovation.

In this post, we cover diversity in the workplace statistics in 8 key areas:

  • General Perceptions and Attitudes Towards DEI
  • Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace
  • Gender Diversity in the Workplace
  • Organizational Policies, Affinity Groups, and ERGs
  • Training, Awareness, and Inclusivity Initiatives
  • Accessibility, Inclusivity, and Intersectionality
  • Economic Impact and Pay Disparities
  • Career Advancement and Leadership Diversity

General Perceptions and Attitudes Towards DEI

The conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has shifted multiple times in the past few years. While DEI had made great strides over the past 20 years, the nature of the conversation shifted in 2020 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down college affirmative action. Combined with a bit of clickbait headlines from news websites, many people were led to believe there was a significant retracement of DEI within businesses.

Hint: There wasn’t. According to a 2023 Capterra report, that year was fantastic for DEI. Nearly 70% of companies invested more money into DEI software in 2023, with a large focus on:

  • Administering DEI training modules
  • Tracking DEI goals
  • Managing ERGs

That last usage is particularly poignant. In our 2024 Mentoring Impact Report, we found that 100% of Fair360’s Top Companies for Diversity had mentoring programs. The joining of ERGs with social learning strategies like mentoring creates a better outcome for DEI programs, but dedicated software makes this approach scalable.

Download the Complete 2024 Mentoring Impact Report – Free!

The issue hasn’t been that companies are backtracking on diversity in the workplace. Instead, they’re getting more strategic and focusing on how they can make DEI more visible, more measurable, and more directly impactful on the bottom line. That’s a good thing for DEI, and it will be interesting to watch the amount of data companies will have on hand to verify its benefits.

These general sentiments towards diversity and inclusion efforts set the stage for a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding DEI in the workplace. Current data helps to highlight how different and emerging initiatives around DEI are perceived differently by everyone: employees, employers, governments, and more.

  1. 56% of US workers say focusing on DEI at work is a good thing. (Pew Research Center)
  2. 54% of US workers say their company or organization pays about the right amount of attention to increasing DEI. Interestingly, 14% say their company or organization pays too much. (Pew Research Center)
  3. Black workers are among the most likely to say focusing on DEI at work is a good thing (78% of Black workers say this), while White workers are the least likely to express this view (47%). (Pew Research Center)
  4. About 6 in 10 women (61%) say focusing on increasing DEI at work is a good thing, compared with half of men. (Pew Research Center)
  5. About two-thirds or more of Black (78%), Asian (72%), and Hispanic (65%) workers say that focusing on DEI at work is a good thing. Among White workers, however, fewer than half (47%) say it’s a good thing; in fact, 21% say it’s a bad thing. (Pew Research Center)
  6. Workers under 30 are the most likely age group to say focusing on DEI at work is a good thing. (Pew Research Center)
  7. While 68% of workers with a postgraduate degree say focusing on DEI at work is a good thing, only 59% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 50% of those with some college or less education say the same. (Pew Research Center)
  8. 72% of workers aged 18-34 said they would consider turning down a job offer or leaving a company if they did not think that their manager (or potential manager) supported DEI initiatives. (Glassdoor)
  9. 74% of US workers say that corporate investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion is “very important” or “somewhat important” to them when considering a new job. (Glassdoor)
  10. 80% of employees said they want to work for a company that values DEI issues. (LinkedIn)
  11. The desire for diversity is growing, with 61% of consumers agreeing that authentic and diverse representation in media has the power to improve society. (Mintel)

Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

When people talk about “DEI,” racial and ethnic diversity is often the immediate assumption. While DEI is far more expansive than race and ethnicity, it does play an important role for many different reasons. An individual’s racial and ethnic background can impact their lived experiences. That, in turn, influences the perspectives and insights that each individual brings to the table in the workplace. That varying perspective allows for greater creativity and problem-solving.

The experiences and perceptions of workers from various racial and ethnic backgrounds influence their professional lives. Challenges and opportunities faced by individuals based on their racial or ethnic identity serve as a critical lens through which to view the current state of racial and ethnic diversity in the workplace.

  1. About half of Black (52%) and Asian (51%) workers in the US say being White makes it easier to be successful where they work. (Pew Research Center)
  2. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 Black women are promoted, despite the fact that Black women ask for promotions at the same rate as men. (Lean In)
  3. For every 100 men hired into manager roles, only 64 Black women are hired. (Lean In)
  4. 54% of Black women say they are often “Onlys,” in that they are the only Black person or one of the only Black people in the room at work. (Lean In)
  5. White women (81%) and men (82%) see themselves as an ally to colleagues of other races and ethnicities. However, only 26% of Black women say they have strong allies in their workplace. (Lean In)
  6. 52% of Black women say they are motivated by the opportunity to influence the culture of their workplace, which is the highest compared to White women (46%), Latinas (44%), and Asian women (41%). (Lean In)
  7. 49% of Black women say they are motivated by the opportunity to be a role model for others like them, which is the highest compared to Latinas (43%), White women (42%) and Asian women (37%). (Lean In)
  8. Asian women are 7x more likely than white women and men to be mistaken for someone of the same race and ethnicity. (Lean In)
  9. 65% of workers aged 18-34 said they would consider turning down a job offer or leaving a company if there was a lack of race/ethnicity diversity in company leadership. (Glassdoor)
  10. As of June 2023, there are 9 Black CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies. (Fortune 500)

Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Gender diversity in the workplace is not just a matter of fairness but also an indicator of an organization’s inclusivity and progressiveness. It’s how gender impacts professional experiences, opportunities, and perceptions within the corporate sphere.

Disparities faced by women and other gender minorities, including issues related to pay equity, representation in leadership roles, and the prevalence of gender-based biases, highlight both the strides made and the significant challenges that still need to be addressed.

MentorcliQ 2024 Mentoring Impact Report Fortune 500 companies and CEO demographics data.

Nevertheless, gender diversity is directly correlated with greater financial success, especially when women are in leadership roles. In 2023, every Fortune 500 company with a woman at the helm had mentoring programs. And in 2022, companies with women CEOs tended to have better-than-average financial success, according to our research on Fortune 500 companies in 2023.

  1. When it comes to gender, workers are more likely to say being a man makes it easier to be successful where they work than to say it makes it harder (36% vs. 6%). (Pew Research Center)
  2. 34% of employed women in the US say being a woman makes it harder to be successful where they work. On the other hand, 44% say being a man makes it easier for success in the workplace. (Pew Research Center)
  3. Women in the US make 16% less than men. (Lean In)
  4. Women with advanced degrees (e.g., master’s degree) are paid 24% less than men with a similar degree. (Lean In)
  5. Women lose an average of $398,160 in income over a 40-year career due to the pay gap. (Lean In)
  6. If women were paid fairly, the poverty rate could be cut in half, and over $500 billion could be injected into the US economy. (Lean In)
  7. Women represent roughly 1 in 4 C-suite leaders, and women of color just 1 in 16. (Lean In)
  8. Young women are especially ambitious: 9 in 10 women ages 30 and under want to be promoted to the next level, and 3 in 4 aspire to become senior leaders. (Lean In)
  9. For every 100 men promoted from entry-level to manager, 87 women are promoted. (Lean In)
  10. LGBTQ+ women are 5x more likely to hide aspects of their personal lives and more than 2.5x more likely to worry about appearing professional than women and men overall. (Lean In)
  11. Women who experience microaggressions are 4x more likely to almost always feel burned out and 3x more likely to think about leaving their companies. (Lean In)
  12. 58% of Americans say women having to do more to prove themselves is a major obstacle for those seeking top leadership positions in business. Other obstacles include gender discrimination (50%), family responsibility (48%), business’s unreadiness to hire women for leadership roles (43%), and sexual harassment (40%). (Pew Research Center)
  13. 67% of workers aged 18-34 said they would consider turning down a job offer or leaving a company if there was a gender imbalance in company leadership. (Glassdoor)
  14. As of 2023, only 4 Fortune 500 companies are led by openly LGBTQ CEOs. (Fortune 500)
  15. Closing the gender gap in labor force participation has the potential to increase a given country’s GDP dramatically, up to 80%. (BCG)

Organizational Policies, Affinity Groups, and ERGs

Organizational policies, affinity groups, and employee resource groups (ERGs) play pivotal roles in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. The effectiveness and prevalence of these initiatives in promoting DEI depend on how companies implement policies ensuring fairness in hiring, pay, and promotions.

  1. About six-in-ten (61%) of US workers say their company or organization has policies that ensure fairness in hiring, pay, or promotions, and 52% say they have trainings or meetings on DEI at work. (Pew Research Center)
  2. Only 26% of US workers say their company or organization has affinity groups or employee resource groups (ERGs) based on a shared identity. (Pew Research Center)
  3. 58% of US workers say affinity groups or ERGs are either not available at their workplace or that they aren’t members. (Pew Research Center)
  4. Fewer than 1 in 5 companies offer financial incentives for senior leaders who meet diversity targets. (Lean In)
  5. Business leaders (28%) are more likely to see affinity groups as strategically valuable, while employees (15%), the main beneficiaries, are least likely to see them this way. (PwC)
  6. 46% of global organizations leverage DE&I programs to attract and retain talents. (PwC)
  7. 49% of global organizations provide training on non-discrimination and regulatory compliance. (PwC)
  8. 74% of global organizations have affinity groups to connect people (38%), execute programs (37%), and provide support and mentorship (34%). (PwC)
  9. 53% of Learning and Development (L&D) professionals report a deeper relationship with diversity, equity, and inclusion in 2023. (LinkedIn)
  10. 60% of employees want to hear business leaders speak up on diversity issues. (LinkedIn)
  11. Half (50%) of HR decision-makers state their company could do more to include people from marginalized groups. (Culture Amp)
  12. 25% of employees revealed they had experienced discrimination at work based on their identity. Additionally, 34% have suffered unwelcome comments or conduct. (Culture Amp)
  13. 23% of HR decision-makers say their organization has received gender discrimination-related complaints. (Culture Amp)
  14. 11% of HR leaders do not believe that people with disabilities in their organization have equal access to development opportunities. (Culture Amp)
  15. 61% of employees state they have not received any DEI training from their employer; just 24% received this during onboarding. (Culture Amp)
  16. 26% of employees say DEI was not emphasized during the recruitment process. This rises to 30% of women in Canada, compared to 24% of men. (Culture Amp)
  17. 23% of organizations are not using any tools to measure DEI and have no plans to implement one soon – largely due to budget constraints. (Culture Amp)
  18. 52% of people from marginalized groups lack an active role in DEI policy/action. (Culture Amp)
  19. 48% of other employees from non-marginalized groups do not play an active role in DEI design and rollout. (Culture Amp)
  20. 47% of people from marginalized groups find it difficult to speak up against discrimination. (Culture Amp)

Training, Awareness, and Inclusivity Initiatives

Training, awareness, and inclusivity initiatives help shape a workplace culture that values and respects diversity. They also contribute to employee understanding and engagement with DEI concepts.

When organizations equip their workforce with the necessary tools and knowledge, it fosters an inclusive and respectful work environment, which also impacts employee morale, decision-making processes, and overall productivity.

  1. Inclusive teams are over 35% more productive. (LinkedIn)
  2. Diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. (LinkedIn)
  3. Employers that posted about diversity saw 26% more applications from women than employers who posted less. (LinkedIn)
  4. Employees who can be their authentic selves are happier, more motivated to give their best, feel like their perspectives matter—and are nearly 2.4 times less likely to quit. (BCG)
  5. At companies whose senior leaders are committed to DEI, 84% of employees feel valued and respected. In contrast, at companies where leaders are not viewed as committed to DEI, only 44% do. (BCG)
  6. When senior leaders are seen as committed to DEI, 84% of straight, cis-gendered men agree that they feel happy at work. (BCG)
  7. When companies have diversity in senior leadership, 85% of employees report feelings of belonging at work, whereas only 53% of employees who work at companies without diversity in senior leadership feel as though they belong. (BCG)
  8. Employees who believe their managers support them have a 4% attrition risk versus a 17% attrition risk for employees who feel their managers do not support them. (BCG)
  9. When direct managers create safe working environments, 79% of employees feel that their perspectives matter, a measure that drops to 36% for employees whose managers do not create a safe working environment. (BCG)
  10. Employees who experience or even just witness discrimination, bias, or disrespect are nearly 1.4 times more likely to quit. (BCG)
  11. Teams make better decisions than individuals 66% of the time; moreover, diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. (Cloverpop)
  12. While diversity can increase friction by 15%, inclusion boosts results by 60%. (Cloverpop)
  13. Exposure to workplace DEI has increased as 66% of employed consumers have noticed some type of DEI initiative from their current employer. (Mintel)

Accessibility, Inclusivity, and Intersectionality

The ways organizations address the needs and experiences of employees with disabilities, along with the importance of recognizing the interconnected nature of various social categorizations, shape individual experiences in the workplace.

These insights address challenges and triumphs in creating work environments that are not only physically accessible but also culturally inclusive of people with diverse identities and backgrounds.

  1. About 3 in 10 US workers say it’s extremely or very important to them to work somewhere with a mix of employees of different races and ethnicities (32%) or ages (28%). (Pew Research Center)
  2. Half of US workers say it’s extremely or very important to them to work somewhere that is accessible for people with physical disabilities. (Pew Research Center)
  3. 25% of employees said they felt in some ways discriminated against in their current organization, with 27% of those due to their age, 26% their race, 25% their working style, and 22% their gender. (Beamery)
  4. 73% of employees who are out to some of their coworkers feel they can be their authentic selves at work, compared with 53% who are not out. (BCG)
  5. 22% of HR leaders have witnessed a decision to not hire or promote someone due to their age. (Culture Amp)

Economic Impact , Pay Disparities, Career Advancement and Leadership Diversity

The economic impact and pay disparities associated with DEI issues affect economic outcomes for individuals and organizations, especially on corporate performance, employee morale, and the broader economy.

In recent years, pay transparency has become a trending topic and a key strategy in the fight to end pay discrimination. As of this time of writing, 9 US states and several cities have passed pay transparency laws of some kind. Typically, these laws require companies that are hiring individuals in those cities or states to post the pay range for the job in question. That gives applicants more hiring power, helps and helps decrease wage gaps, but isn’t without consequences.

CNBC reports that 14% of companies report workers quitting due to pay following the passage of pay transparency laws. Of course, that’s a consequence primarily felt by companies that are underpaying their workers relative to the competitors and the market.

  1. Despite fact that women are more likely than men to hold a bachelor’s degree (48% to 41%), women still earn around 82 cents to the dollar compared to men. (Pew Research)
  2. The gender pay gap exists for all women in the US, but is most significant for Black and Hispanic women, who earn 59% and 52% that of men in the workforce, respectively. (Pew Research)
  3. 33% of women in corporate America never have a substantive interaction with a senior leader about their work. (Lean In)
  4. Diverse companies earn 2.5x higher cash flow per employee. (LinkedIn)
  5. 160 million women may need to change jobs through 2030 due to automation. (McKinsey)
  6. 64% of employees who come from less advantaged financial backgrounds feel they can be their authentic selves at work, whereas 75% of people who grew up advantaged feel that they can be authentic. (BCG)
  7. Black women are more likely to have their judgment questioned in their area of expertise (41%) and to be asked to provide additional evidence of their competence (40%). (Lean In)
  8. In private equity (PE) funds globally, women are more represented in non-investing roles than in operating and investing roles at every level. (McKinsey)
  9. At every level, women in PE in investing roles are less likely than men to be promoted. On the contrary, men in PE in investing roles are about 50 percent more likely, on average, to be promoted than their female colleagues. (McKinsey)
  10. While 67% of C-Suite and board members agree that their colleagues take the time to understand their background, only 56% of employees below the management level agree with this statement. (PwC)

Strengthen Your DEI Initiatives With Employee Resource Groups

The extensive range of statistics we’ve explored here underscores the profound impact and necessity of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. They provide a crucial understanding of where we are and where we need to go in terms of fostering truly inclusive work environments.

However, while statistics can guide us, it’s the practical implementation of DEI initiatives that truly makes a difference. This is where Employee Resource Groups come into play. ERGs are not just groups; they are powerful platforms for voice, change, and impact. They provide safe spaces for employees from diverse backgrounds to come together, share their experiences, and support one another.

When properly structured and supported, ERGs are more than just “social clubs.” They’re organizational drivers that impact revenue, productivity, employee engagement, and company culture. When paired with software and merged with social learning like mentoring, ERGs can transform your entire employee engagement, development, and DEI strategies.

But that kind of success comes with structure and scale. For that, you need a platform — and a partner. Book a demo to learn more about how Diverst has helped companies like Pixar, Principal, and IDEX turn DEI into ROI.


Sam Cook

Sam Cook is the Content Director for MentorcliQ and a former high school teacher who spent nearly a decade mentoring students and new teachers, both formally and informally. He combines his successful second-life career as a writer with his experience as an educator and mentor to help demystify people-led employee engagement, development, and retention strategies.