Old silos kill collaborative DEI work


In the second half of 2020, following the killing of George Floyd, we saw a global movement for racial equity. Companies pledged money, chief executives wrote heartfelt essays, millions of dollars were invested and many chief diversity officers were hired with over half of them starting last year. Has it yielded any systemic change? Not much, says a 2022 Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report from Culture Amp.

Culture Amp surveyed employees from over 2,000 global organizations and found that nothing much has changed in terms of systemic progress. Almost one in three DEI practitioners felt that they were under-equipped to perform their jobs even though perceptions of DEI are generally very positive. Only 40% of organizations had dedicated DEI roles and 80% of them were hired just in the last year.

The report added that “competing priorities, tight resources, inexperience in the field, and a lack of accountability can lead to deprioritizing DEI work in favor of core HR tasks, setting DEI initiatives to fail or have limited impact.”

DEI practitioners must first amplify their own voices among leadership before trying to create internal change. The report added that many lack the ability to collaborate and benchmark effective strategies on a companywide basis. The old silos haven’t gone anywhere!

DEI: A booming cottage industry


  1. Median DEI manager’s salary: $103,693 (Salary.com)
  2. VP & Chief Diversity Officer (Major public university): $315,000. (Plus sign on bonus, car allowance, and here is the kicker:  2 complimentary season tickets for football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey!) 
  3. Pre-2020 online DEI courses: Hardly a dozen courses existed on Coursera or LinkedIn. Today, hundreds of courses, certificate programs, and micro-credentials are available.
  4. Highly paid DEI consultants: Make between $4,000 and $20,000 per presentation.
  5. Elitist writers: Previously unknown writers with no clue of where and how marginalized communities live now have must read books!
  6. A spin off industry: Sub-specialists in inclusion, implicit bias, micro-aggression and other DEI topics are thriving, not to talk of DEI start ups in San Francisco!
  7. State and federal government mandates on DEI: Mean long-term opportunities for specialists, consultants and academics.
  8. Lived experience experts: Some have ditched corporate careers to start their own boutique operations highlighting their lived experiences.
Sell when you can: you are not for all markets
William Shakespeare (1564-1616). "As you like it."