5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: December 8

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. Americans Say Businesses Are More Likely to Advance Racial Equity Than the Government

At times it can seem like the vast majority of people acknowledge the existence of systemic racism in the United States, but data shows there’s still a significant portion of people who do not. 

Survey findings from U.S. News and World Report and The Harris Poll show that 47% of Americans aren’t convinced that systemic racism exists while 17% said they were unsure. Eighty percent of Black or African American respondents said systemic racism does exist compared to just 62% of white Americans, and more than 70% of Asian or Pacific Islanders said the same as well as 70% of Hispanic respondents. 

Half of Black or African American respondents also said they “strongly agree” that discriminatory practices such as redlining and voter suppression need to be addressed in this country while just 36% of whites and 37% of respondents overall agreed with this sentiment. While this may be the case, respondents were somewhat hopeful that businesses could make more of a positive impact in their communities than the government in advancing racial equity and raising awareness around racial bias and microaggressions. 

To ensure your company’s DEI strategy withstands a recession, it must be embedded within your organization’s essential work. 

“When the diversity and inclusion work is not seen as a strategic priority, not framed or appreciated as central to the efforts of the organization, not embedded within the units and when it’s sort of its own standalone space within the organization –  it can be easier to cut that out and easier psychologically for people to think of it as an add on rather than as an essential element for their organization,” says Denise Lewin Loyd, associate dean for equity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of The PhD Project.

She added that it’s important for company leaders to emphasize that DEI is about the fair treatment of all people. 

Subscribe to DiversityInc Best Practices to read “5 Ways to Recession-Proof Your DEI Strategy.”

2. Tech Companies Defund Diversity Pledges Amid Layoffs

While hundreds of tech companies made pledges to confront racism within their companies following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, those companies have not lived up to their promises and have even cut out some diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts amid budget cuts and the recent wave of mass layoffs at tech companies. 

Tech company leaders have reassessed their bottom line amid recession fears, which has led to DEI program cuts in many cases. Layoffs have displaced 147,000 tech employees in 2022, and Black and brown workers have been disproportionately affected. DEI-related Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have even been sunset in some cases. 

The tech sector is one of the least diverse industries despite its talk of representation. In 2021, Black employees made up just 7% of the tech sector workforce, and that number has likely decreased even more amid layoffs. 

3. Creating a Lasting DEI Culture

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives lead to better-run companies with a stronger bottom line and a motivated workforce. 

A DEI-oriented culture means organizations put as much focus on equity and inclusion as they do on diversity. Creating inclusion in the workplace means asking every person or group to contribute to the company’s strategies for goal-setting and contributing to projects. It also creates collaboration and respect in the workplace and makes everyone feel like they are part of the team. 

Equity refers to giving everyone fair treatment and opportunities while promoting social equality and removing barriers that keep some groups from participating fully. Equity is different from equality because it does not assume that everyone has had the same opportunities and experiences. 

Diversity councils, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Human Resources teams are great ways to maintain focus on DEI with support from leadership. 

4. Annual PhD Project Conference Attracts 216 Diverse Applicants

The PhD Project held its annual conference in Chicago Nov. 16 and 17, which featured three “Ph.D. Lifecycle” sessions focused on setting the stage, successful applicants and Doctoral students as well as “Navigate the Discipline” breakouts focused on accounting, finance and economics, information systems, marketing and more. DiversityInc is a PhD Project corporate partner. 

According to The PhD Project, the annual conference is the first step many members take on their journey to a Ph.D. and offers doctoral students a realistic look at every step in the path to getting a Ph.D. as well as a chance to network with professors, other doctoral students, PhD Project partners and more. 

According to data from The PhD Project, 86 men and 130 women applied to attend the conference this year. Of that number, 157 applicants were Black or African American, 100 of which were female, 30 applicants were female Hispanic American out of 56 Latinx/Hispanic American applicants and two applicants were nonbinary or transgender. 

5. Job Spotlight: Lead Data Engineer at The Hershey Company

The DiversityInc Job Board is a great place for job seekers and recruiters to find jobs and the perfect candidates that encompass DEI.

It allows recruiters to find candidates by posting jobs that will be viewed by thousands and to receive candidate matches via email. And those looking to be recruited can post their resume and be found as well as receive daily job postings to their email inbox.

This week, we would like to highlight a job from The Hershey Company (No. 6 on the DiversityInc 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list). The company is looking for a Lead Data Engineer, Enterprise Data and Technology, in its Hershey, Pennsylvania office. In this role, the qualified candidate will work in the commercial domain with business stakeholders and technical product owners to ensure data solutions meet expectations and requirements. A Bachelor’s Degree with quantitative STEM focus is required.

Read more about the qualifications for this position and the full job description here.

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