Although many employers have made strides with their diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives in recent years, a new Indeed survey finds that nearly half of Black workers in the U.S. (49%) are currently considering or actively looking for a new job. 

During Black History Month, Indeed commissioned a nationwide poll to gauge how organizations can create work environments that attract, engage and, most importantly, retain Black employees. The survey also examined what DEIB policies, programs and practices workers actually want to see prioritized versus what employers are implementing. 

The survey was conducted between February 1 and 8, 2023, with 615 total respondents in the U.S. who are either part- or full-time employees, at least 18 years old and identify as Black or African-American. Of the respondents, 43% are male, 55% are female and 2% are nonbinary. 

Here are the survey’s five most important takeaways for employers — they point to dissatisfied workers; employers’ missing out on key talent; disconnects between what Black workers need and what employers offer; the need for better training; and the impact of layoffs on DEIB initiatives.

1. Nearly half of Black workers in the U.S. (49%) are currently considering or actively looking for a new job.

Nearly half of survey respondents say they don’t feel supported at work and are looking to make a change. 

An image of pie chart showcasing percentages of Black job seekers consideration for a new job. 51% said they are not considering or seeking a new job. 28% said they are considering a new job. 21% said they are actively seeking a new job.
About half of respondents are either considering a new job or actively looking for one.

The workers in our survey who say they are job hunting rank unfair compensation, a lack of career-advancement opportunities and a lack of managerial support as the top three reasons for leaving their current employers. 

When looking for jobs, they point to pay transparency (78%) as their top consideration — not surprising, given how the workers in this survey say they are compensated unfairly. Demand for pay transparency is rapidly rising — especially among younger generations — and often translates to increased employee happiness, engagement and loyalty. Greater pay transparency can also help effectively shrink the historical and widening wage gap between Black and white workers. Personal and company values alignment (63%) and a diverse leadership team (60%) also top the list of what they’re looking for in potential employers.  

A bar chart showing what is most important to Black employees when looking for a new job. Pay transparency is the most important at 78%, second is company values that match their own at 63%, third most important are a diverse leadership team and inclusive policies and benefits tied at 60%. Fourth most important is a diverse junior team and employee resource groups (ERGs) tied at 33%. 30% felt that mentor ship and/or sponsorship opportunities were the most important, and 29% felt that inclusive language in job descriptions was the most important.
When looking for a new role, survey respondents say that pay transparency is by far the most important consideration.

2. Employers who don’t prioritize fair hiring and DEIB are losing key talent — or missing out altogether.

More than half (58%) of respondents say they didn’t apply to a job they would have otherwise been interested in because the company didn’t appear to be inclusive or diverse. Hiring discrimination is real and rampant, with nearly half (45%) of those polled reporting discrimination in the job interview process. And it doesn’t stop after the interview: 54% of respondents say they’ve faced discrimination in the workplace. 

Of respondents who say they’re leaving their current employers, 43% say it’s due to experiencing microaggressions from leadership or coworkers. Two-thirds believe there isn’t enough Black representation on their companies’ senior leadership teams.

Employers also disproportionately lean on Black workers to participate in or lead DEIB programming. More than half (54%) say there is an expectation in the workplace to educate others on DEIB-related topics. This burden comes at a high emotional price, with 42% reporting it has contributed to burnout at their current jobs and one-third saying it has made them want to look for another employer. 

3. DEIB policies and training are largely effective, but there is room for improvement.

Nearly three out of four respondents agree that DEIB training truly impacts workplace expectations and behaviors. However, 29% believe their company’s DEIB efforts are only reactive to current events, and 24% believe them to be performative in nature. On top of that, 35% believe DEIB initiatives are prioritized and socialized only during holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth.  

4. There’s a disconnect between the DEIB efforts employees want and the DEIB initiatives employers are providing.

A chart showing DEIB initiatives that companies have implemented that are important to Black employees. 64% of companies implemented diverse hiring practices, followed by diversity committees at 44%, and DEIB awareness events for employees and employee resource groups (ERGs) tied at 40%. 38% of companies practice pay transparency, 35% implemented DEIB training, and 31% hired or grew a dedicated DEIB team/department and offered sponsorship or mentoring opportunities.
People value pay transparency very highly when they're thinking about jobs, but only 38% of them say their companies have implemented it.

Workers rank pay transparency and equity (58%), scheduling flexibility to improve work-life balance (52%) and increased representation (44%) as the top three DEIB initiatives they’d like to see their employers prioritize. This is in step with the marketwide trends and preferences toward higher pay and greater flexibility reflected in Indeed and Glassdoor’s recent Hiring and Workplace Trends Report. A vast majority (87%) also want to see more Black representation outside of DEIB-related roles. 

That said, the top three DEIB initiatives that respondents said their companies had implemented differ, with diverse hiring practices (64%), diversity committees (44%) and DEIB employee awareness events (40%) topping the list. Only 38% report employers’ implementing pay transparency measures.

A bar chart showing what Black employees would like their employers to prioritize. Pay transparency and equity was the most important at 58%, followed by flexibility and work-life balance at 52%, and increase representation at 44%. 34% of Black employees wanted to see their employers take correct active against identified bias and have more managerial support. 32% wanted their employer to prioritize ERGs and 30% wanted to see bias training implemented. Mentorship and/or sponsorship programs were desired by 29% of employees, 25% wanted more support internal systems for reporting DEIB issues. 24% wanted DEIB continuing education opportunities and 23% wanted their employer to be transparent in their DEIB progress. 22% of Black employees wanted their organization to offer ongoing DEIB training.
The top three things people want to see their companies prioritize are pay transparency, flexibility and increased representation.

5. More than one in four (29%) say layoffs have negatively affected their company’s DEIB efforts over the past year. 

While many companies cite DEIB as an integral business function, more than one in four respondents say layoffs (29%) and budget cuts (30%) have negatively impacted their companies’ DEIB efforts this year. Nearly one in three (31%) report that their DEIB teams have shrunk over the past 12 months. 

As companies gear up for a possible recession, it’s not enough to merely communicate intent: companies need to re-examine, re-evaluate and re-energize their hiring and DEIB strategies to ensure they align with both company and worker values. Leaders need to accept that placing the responsibility for DEIB solely upon Black workers is not only unfair but ineffective, often leading to disconnected, burned-out talent. They should be aware of and combat hiring and workplace discrimination and recognize the significant role pay transparency plays in fighting it. 

DEIB teams also need the support and resources to be successful and effective, and employers should strongly consider the detrimental impact budget cuts will have on company morale and culture. Promises, however well-intended, are empty if they’re not benefiting Black workers and fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.