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10 powerful diversity and inclusion statistics to boost your d&i expertise

Diversity in the workplace is one of the most discussed topics in the office and in society at large. Leadership teams are asking questions about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and inclusive leadership and so are their customers, partners, board members and employees. However, the majority of professionals do not have any expertise in equality, diversity and inclusion and they feel unequipped to have the necessary conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is why I have compiled a list of the top 10 most powerful diversity and inclusion statistics to supercharge your d&i expertise in 2021. This article covers a range of key figures related to diversity and inclusion in the workplace that will help you and your organisation better understand how to approach diversity and inclusion in the workplace in 2021. It will also help you learn why prioritizing diversity and inclusion to build a better workplace will boost revenue and employee performance.

Bersin by Deloitte published the High-Impact Talent Management research in 2015. Over a two year period, the research surveyed 450 global companies to identify their level of maturity in a wide variety of talent practices, looked at a total of 128 different aspects of talent management, things like how well companies assess candidates for job and culture fit, how fair their performance management practices are, their culture of learning, their level of maturity in leaders development, and more. The research also looked at business performance of these companies, and correlated the talent practices against performance, then performed a causal analysis to see which practices had the greatest statistical impact. The companies at levels 3 and 4, who were labelled “inclusive” and “managed” talent companies, were found to be exceptional businesses: specifically, these companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period.

A recent Boston Consulting Group research titled “Diversity at Work” found that increasing diversity within leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance. That was the case in both developing and developed economies, where companies with above-average diversity on their leadership teams reported a greater payoff from innovation and higher EBIT margins. The key finding was a strong significant correlation between the diversity of management teams and overall innovation: companies with above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity—45% of total revenue versus just 26%.

In 2020, McKinsey published a new report titled “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters”. In this research, it was revealed that the business case for inclusion and diversity is stronger than ever. The McKinsey report found that companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all. A substantial differential likelihood of outperformance—48 percent—separates the most from the least gender-diverse companies. Test your diversity profile with this 2 minute quiz.

The Bersin by Deloitte research titled “High-Impact Talent Management”, which surveyed 450 global companies and looked at a total of 128 different aspects of talent management, found that companies at levels 3 and 4, who we labelled “inclusive” and “managed” talent companies, were 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. They were also 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready. These inclusive companies were also 2.9 times more likely to identify and build leaders.

The biggest reason companies avoid hiring diversity is that they are too busy. A SHRM report recently noted that 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives. This statistic shows one of the biggest barriers to creating a more diverse workforce: a lack of prioritization of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and perhaps a lack of understanding the real business case for diversity at work.

In 2021, Fortune magazine revealed that the number of women running businesses on the Fortune 500 was 41. Having a total of 41 women chief executives amounts to female leadership for just 8.1% of the Fortune 500. The number of women running Fortune 500 companies is influenced by several factors, including executive leadership changes and companies either growing large enough to make the list, or shrinking to fall off it. Watch my video titled 4 unconscious bias hotspots at work (and how to recognize them).

A 2020 research by Stefanie K. Johnson and Jessica F. Kirk revealed that Dual-anonymization of job applications yields promising results for reducing gender bias. Using data, the research examined the effects of the Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee (HST TAC)'s decision to adopt a dual- rather than single-anonymous review process. The change involved removing information about the Principal Investigator (PI) with the goal of reducing bias against women. Proposals led by female PIs were significantly more likely to be accepted in the five cycles following the changes compared to the 11 cycles using a single-anonymous review system. Taking a closer look at why these changes emerged, the research examined data at the reviewer-level in the cycle immediately preceding the change compared to three of the cycles after the change. The study found that male reviewers rated female PIs significantly worse than they rated male PIs before, but not after, dual-anonymization was adopted.

A 2020 research titled “Women in the Workplace” by Lean In and McKinsey revealed that for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted. The research found that despite gains for women in leadership, a “broken rung” in promotions at the first step up to manager was still a major barrier for women. For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted—and this gap was even larger for some women: Only 58 Black women and 71 Latinas were promoted. As a result, women remained significantly outnumbered at the manager level at the beginning of 2020—they held just 38 percent of manager positions, while men held 62 percent.

A 2018 research study titled “Do Women Ask?” by Benjamin Artz, Amanda Goodall, and Andrew J. Oswald revealed that women ask for raises as often as men, but are less likely to get them. The research used matched employer–employee data in which workers are questioned about their asking behavior. It concludes that males and females ask equally often for promotions and raises. The paper's empirical results suggest, however, that while women do ask, they “don't get.”

A McKinsey study titled “Why Diversity Matters” found that the business case for inclusion and diversity is stronger than ever. The report examined proprietary data sets for 366 public companies across a range of industries in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States and looked at metrics such as financial results and the composition of top management and boards. Despite 85% of employers and hiring managers saying that increasing diversity in their workforce is a priority, just half have programmes in place to attract, develop and retain an inclusive workforce, and 45% do not have any means of measuring the diversity of their workforce.

As we live in a society that is rapidly changing due to technological innovations and cultural shifts, organisations need to adapt to this rapid change. Employers must recognise the potential challenges that a non-diverse, non-inclusive workplace brings and must have a strategy in place to overcome them. By doing so they can ensure that their workforce remains engaged, productive and is able to collaborate effectively through rapid change while still gaining the advantages, such as a broad range of perspectives and ideas, that a diverse workforce can bring. Contact me to discuss how I can help you create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

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