Even as backlash and legal challenges intensify against diversity-related initiatives, many employers have deepened their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion programs, a report from the employment law firm Littler finds.
In a survey of 320 U.S. C-suite executives, a majority (57%) said their organizations have expanded their DEI commitments and activities over the past year. Nearly the same proportion (59%) said the backlash against corporate diversity programs has increased since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2023 ruling that race-based college admissions are unlawful.
According to the Littler report, more than a third (36%) of the executives surveyed said they have maintained their organizations’ DEI efforts, while just 1% reported significant decreases. Further, 91% of C-suite leaders surveyed said the Supreme Court ruling has not made DEI programs less of a priority for their organizations. More than two-thirds (69%) said the court’s decision has not changed their approach to DEI initiatives.
Among C-suite executives surveyed, 58% said their organizations continue to provide training and professional development opportunities to diverse employees. More than half (55%) said they are promoting diverse employees into leadership positions.
As political polarization widens, nearly three-quarters of C-suite leaders surveyed (73%) said they face challenges trying to handle divisive social and political beliefs among employees and/or respond to pressure to take stances on contentious social issues. In the survey, leadership teams reported that divisive issues can have high-stakes consequences for their businesses and reputations.
Find DEI resources from PRSA here.