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Majority of companies now have a DE&I budget and half are increasing it this year

Written on Feb 16, 2024

While some reporting has suggested that businesses are backing off DE&I, a new survey shows that most companies made it a bigger priority over the past year, and that leaders largely believe DE&I has a positive impact on their business. 

Nearly all (97%) companies have at least one DE&I initiative, and 78% prioritized it more over the last year, Workday found in its 2024 global survey of 2,600 HR professionals and business leaders. Companies also appear to be putting their money where their mouth is: 85% have a dedicated DE&I budget, compared to 76% in 2022, and 45% foresee increasing their DE&I budget over the next financial year, up from 35% in 2023. 

Whether investments in DE&I initiatives are driven by internal or external pressures, the data suggests workers are the common denominator. Most (66%) organizations cited internal pressure from their leaders and employees as the main internal driver for investment, while the desire for a strong employer brand was the primary external force. 

U.S. organizations in particular cited business success and results, attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce, and promoting employees from underrepresented backgrounds as main motivators for continuing DE&I efforts. 

With motivators driving programs forward, executives are increasingly examining the impacts of DE&I on their businesses. While just 23% of US organizations were measuring the business impacts of DE&I in 2022, that number increased to 82% a year later. Companies mainly examine employee engagement, diversity metrics (most commonly gender and age), and performance to DE&I performance indicators. 

All in all, the majority of respondents believe that DE&I is having a positive impact on business outcomes. It appears to have had the biggest influence on engagement, with 74% of respondents saying they’ve seen an impact, followed by belonging and inclusion, health and well-being, performance and retention. 

While nearly one-half (49%) of companies track diversity metrics, just 39% measure inclusion and belonging.  

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