Diversity Efforts Led by HR at Most Firms

October 25, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 62% of respondents reported that HR is responsible for directing their organizations’ diversity efforts.

According to an SHRM article, 21% said their organizations’ presidents or CEOs led the diversity initiatives, and 20% reported that senior-level management directed those efforts.  

The survey revealed that the number of organizations employing staff exclusively committed to corporate diversity programs has decreased steadily since 2005. The proportion of organizations with dedicated diversity staff dropped from 21% in 2005 to 13% in 2011. Employers with 2,500 or more employees were most likely to hire diversity-related staff. Among the survey respondents with 2,500 to 24,999 employees, 39% reported that their organizations hired staff dedicated to diversity, while 48% of the respondents with 25,000 or more employees worked for organizations that employed dedicated diversity staff. Only 8% of respondents from organizations with 500 to 2,499 employees and 4% with 100 to 499 employees had staff dedicated exclusively to diversity.  

The article stated that although the number of dedicated diversity staff has declined since 2005, the SHRM poll found that employers spending on diversity initiatives held fairly steady from 2010 to 2011. Among the 674 respondents, only 16% reported that their organizations maintained a budget for diversity initiatives. However, 75% of those respondents reported that their organizations’ 2011 diversity budget remained at the same level as 2010, and 14% said their diversity budgets increased. Ten percent of respondents indicated that their budgets decreased from 2010 spending levels, and 1% reported that the organizational diversity budget was eliminated in 2011.  

The SHRM poll also asked respondents if their organizations had sexual orientation discrimination policies. Sixty-four percent said their organizations maintained a formal written policy or informal policy to prevent sexual orientation bias in the workplace. Only 21% indicated their companies maintain policies to address gender identity and/or gender expression.  

SHRM surveyed 674 randomly selected members.  

A copy of survey findings can be downloaded from http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/AnExaminationofDiversity.aspx.