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News » U.S. execs uphold DEI despite backlash

U.S. execs uphold DEI despite backlash

Photo from Littler’s Inclusion, Equity and Diversity C-Suite Survey Report

CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES — A new survey by the employment law firm Littler has found that a majority of executives remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI or IE&D) programs, despite growing backlash.

The November 2023 survey of 322 U.S. executives found that 57% say their organizations expanded DEI initiatives over the past year, while 36% maintained existing programs.

“Demonstrating that IE&D is part of their core values, many organizations are taking the prudent step of auditing and assessing their current initiatives, rather than eliminating them,” said Littler shareholder Jeanine Conley Daves.

However, 59% believe public criticism of DEI efforts has risen since the June Supreme Court decision that allowed colleges and universities to broadly consider applicants’ race in their admissions processes.

Despite this, 91% of C-suite executives surveyed said that the court’s decision had not lessened their prioritization of DEI.

Only 6% of survey respondents decreased initiatives in 2022, with 50% citing legal concerns and 44% pointing to budget cuts.

For Littler’s President and Managing Director Erin Webber, it shows that IE&D is “embedded into almost every aspect of an organization, from employee engagement and hiring to data privacy and pay equity.” 

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