Help Wanted: Diversity Officer Hiring Is Booming in the U.S.

More than 60 companies have appointed their first-ever diversity and inclusion chief since last year’s police killing of George Floyd. But it takes more than one executive to bring change.

Bloomberg | March 12, 2021

The Bloomberg article, "Help Wanted: Diversity Officer Hiring Is Booming in the U.S.​," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Tina Shah Paikeday​ on the role of chief diversity officers. The article is excerpted below.

Chief diversity officers have become a hot item in U.S. C-suites, with hirings setting records and big-name companies such as Levi Strauss & Co. poaching peers for management talent.

After the police killing of George Floyd touched off mass protests demanding more equity for Black people last year, new hires of diversity chiefs in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumped to as many as a dozen monthly — almost triple the rate of the previous 16 months, according to research from executive recruiter Russell Reynolds Associates. A separate analysis of a broader group of public companies found that at least 60 firms appointed their first-ever diversity leader since last May. 

“What’s different this time is that the whole world is focused on it,” said Tina Shah Paikeday, who leads Russell Reynolds’ diversity and inclusion advisory practice.

Still, even after the flood of new hires, only about 53% of S&P 500 firms do have such a position or equivalent, up from 47% in 2018, Russell Reynolds research shows.

Traditionally, a company would hire one executive and give them a budget of about $100,000, according to Paikeday. It could take a decade for the program to become integrated fully — a period during which the diversity leader would have changed three times, on average.

Nowadays, Paikeday sees more companies give their executive staff and a bigger budget of $500,000.

“Historically, people talked about the quick wins,” she said. “When they don’t see the quick wins right away, all of a sudden the chief diversity officer is out the door. Now people are looking for longer-term change.”

To read the full article, click here.

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Help Wanted: Diversity Officer Hiring Is Booming in the U.S.