Corporate America’s rush to hire diversity, equity, and inclusion executives is slowing to a standstill — with Chief Diversity Officers exiting at Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and other corporations.
“They’re staring to see the emperor has no clothes,” Tabia Lee, herself a former DEI professional, told The Post.
“It’s important that company structures don’t include these kinds of positions whose sole role is to promote divisions instead of unity — who turn the company or corporate mission into something that is focused on critical social justice instead of what the mission of the organization is to begin with,” Lee, who is black, added.
According to LinkedIn, DEI job openings exploded by almost 170% between 2019 and 2022.
Former college DEI employee Tabia Lee says her industry is becoming divisive — and isn’t surprised to hear it’s shrinking in corporate culture. Andri Tambunan for The New York Post
Jason Hanold, CEO and managing partner of executive search advisory company Hanold Associates, said 2020 — when demand outstripped supply — triggered a “frenetic time” for Chief Diversity Officer hiring.
“There was an urgency and a national narrative driving that demand,” said Hanold, referencing George Floyd’s death, the nationwide social justice marches, and increased donations to groups like Black Lives Matter that followed.
State schools, for-profit colleges and even the Ivy League flooded the market with graduates of DEI certificate programs.
Netflix is among a slew of companies pulling back on DEI bureaucracy. Getty Images
“The demand has leveled,” Hanold reported. He says he’s noticed more and more companies folding diversity officers’ roles into general HR positions, cutting down on costs and bureaucracy.
In part, Hanold says it’s because diversity officers’ responsibilities were unclear: “Some companies were well prepared and ready. Many companies were not — and struggled to define success, give the resources, accountabilities and responsibilities needed to perform well.”
Lee agrees — but says there is more to it.
Dr. Tabia Lee says DEI professionals with the “wrong” vision can be bullied out of the industry. Andri Tambunan for The New York Post
“The default here in America especially is [a type of DEI] that focuses on racial division and perpetual strife around racialized identity,” she said. “I think that that’s something that’s very toxic for everyone. I don’t think anyone benefits from that.”
Lee — who formerly served as faculty director of the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Education at De Anza College in Cupertino, California — said the industry squeezes out those who disagree with a singular, politicized vision of what diversity, equity, and inclusion is supposed to look like.
Source: NEW YORK POST