Companies must remain diligent in their diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, efforts as layoffs continue, according to McKinsey senior partner Shelley Stewart.
In an interview with CNBC, Stewart warned that an increase in layoffs could undermine the DEI promises many companies made in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
Since December 2020, the amount of money companies have publicly committed to racial equity has risen from $66 billion to $340 billion. However, “it has been difficult to achieve these ambitious goals to deploy this capital,” Stewart said.
Stewart told CNBC that black Americans have always been disproportionately affected during economic downturns.
Because black workers are underrepresented in the tech industry, he said, they may not be disproportionately affected in this sector. Nonetheless, he stressed the importance of increasing the number of black tech workers, urging companies to continue “to think about ways to increase representation as we think about coming out of this thing on the other side.”
Stewart encourages companies to continue their DEI efforts by working with diverse vendors, saying partnering with diverse companies is “the greatest leverage companies have to directly impact society beyond wages.”
“Inclusive growth is better for business, better for society, better for our global economy and our national economy,” he said. “People who stick with it, I think, will come out stronger on the other side.”
Watch the video to learn more about the commitments companies have made to tackle inequality and the impact an economic downturn could have on those DEI commitments.
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