Survey of Top Black Executives in Corporate America Reveals Current State of DEI


FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailAmid the rising tension and legal challenges against diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, a new survey by The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) reveals a resilient commitment to business enhancing DEI among top Black executives. This survey exclusively engaged top Black executives, providing invaluable insights into the priorities and strategies that should guide DEI efforts.

The survey, released during The ELC’s annual Summer Member Meeting, identified the best ways to improve DEI across Corporate America. In addition to maintaining or increasing ethnic diversity at all levels of leadership and management, three main themes emerged as the most effective approaches for companies moving forward:

  • Treat DEI like other known business drivers in companies.
  • Instill clear measurement mechanisms to determine and reinforce which DEI strategies work best to drive business outcomes.
  • Remain steadfast in support of DEI to grow the business even as anti-DEI fervor increases.

Understanding today’s environment, nearly three-quarters (72%) of ELC member respondents felt their companies’ commitment to DEI was very or moderately strong with the remaining 28% rating their companies’ commitment as either average or basic. Additionally, 36% reported a reduction in vocal support for DEI at their organizations.

Notably, the survey reveals a direct correlation between those who report both strong DEI initiatives and high rates of job satisfaction, with more than a third having been at their companies for over ten years.

“Through our members’ own experiences, we are learning that unequivocally, companies that double down on the most effective and proven DEI programs are creating a workforce that is more engaged and motivated, which naturally leads to enhanced business performance,” said The ELC President and CEO, Michael C Hyter.

Key Findings:

CEO Leadership Crucial for DEI Success: 73% of respondents who rate their companies as strong DEI performers credit their CEOs with driving DEI strategy. Middle management and below benefit from regular communication from the CEO reinforcing the link between DEI initiatives and achievement of corporate business goals.

Impact on Job Satisfaction: Those who reported strong DEI practices also noted job satisfaction, a strong corporate reputation, clearly defined role responsibilities, alignment to company mission and values, opportunities for growth, and equitable compensation in their responses.

Primary Drivers for DEI Goals: Respondents felt that enabling superior business performance, providing equivalent access and opportunity for everyone – being mindful of diverse talent, and strengthening corporate culture through an environment that enhances engagement should lead a company’s DEI efforts.

“We trust that leaders across Corporate America will leverage the insights presented in this report and incorporate them into their decision-making,” said Gale V. King, Chair of the Board at The Executive Leadership Council. “The ELC stands ready to support companies and CEOs who remain committed to DEI as a strategic business imperative.”