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Opportunities for Diversity Managers Increase As Companies Look to Diversify Workforce

Opportunities for Diversity Managers Increase As Companies Look to Diversify Workforce

Diversity manager standing in front of team of diverse business professionals.

Last Updated February 8, 2021

As diversity in the workplace becomes a priority for all businesses, the need for experts in this important area has increased. The job of diversity manager has emerged as a solid career choice for human resource professionals who want to focus on making workplaces more diverse and inclusive.

The growing demand for the job is apparent in rankings from LinkedIn of “opportunities that are in demand and hiring now.” Experts in workplace diversity ranked fifth on the list, with the title of diversity manager listed first. Other job titles include diversity officer, head of diversity and diversity coordinator.

The job network site reported that large and small companies have “turned to diversity experts who could help them bring new voices into their organizations.” Hiring for diversity positions has increased 90% since 2019.

The Importance of Diversity Management

While protests in the summer of 2020 put renewed focus on systematic racism and other race-related issues, the importance of diversity in the workplace has been building for some time. Recognizing this trend in human resources, Villanova University offers an on-campus Graduate Certificate in Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, which can be earned as a standalone credential and as a concentration for those seeking a Master of Science in Human Resource Development.

CNN noted that hiring leaders in the areas of diversity and inclusion increased 20% between 2017 and 2018, with notable examples including Uber and the National Football League. People who work in these positions focus on three areas within human resources: employee recruitment, retention and engagement.

Most people know about diversity management from a social justice perspective. But Jameel Rush, PHR, SHRM-CP, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for The Philadelphia Inquirer and an adjunct professor at Villanova University, said in an interview that diversity is not only “the right thing to do” but also a smart business move.

“Inclusion makes business sense,” he said, noting that studies have shown diverse businesses “outperform homogenous teams by leaps and bounds, and that organizations that have gotten diversity right outperform their peers on the Fortune 500.”

That’s because doing “diversity right” involves not just attracting a diverse group of employees, but also creating a company culture that retains those employees and offers them the chance for career growth.

The Goal of Diversity Management

Diversity managers typically work within the HR department, although we are seeing many organizations elevate the roles of diversity experts in organizations as they try to take a more strategic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at all levels. The goal is to create diverse, high-performing organizations that sustain success. This goes beyond diversity training that has been standard practice for decades.

Today, a diversity manager works to integrate companywide diversity and inclusion initiatives that reflect the realities of the business world. For example, a company without fair representation of women in management positions may find it difficult to attract talented female employees. The same can be said of minority groups. Diversity managers work not only to change hiring practices but also to make diversity and inclusion part of the fabric of the organization and part of the long-term business strategy.

Job Duties and Salary Potential for Diversity Managers

As might be expected in such a relatively new profession, the job duties of diversity managers vary depending on where they work. A look at the requirements for diversity manager jobs posted on LinkedIn provides insight into what companies expect from diversity managers.

Skills and job duties may include:

  • Building initiatives that create process standards in HR that result in a more diversified workforce and that hold leadership accountable for creating a diverse group of employees
  • Staying current on diversity trends
  • Driving better engagement with diverse job seekers, creating a “pipeline of talent” from a wide range of communities
  • Developing metrics to determine the success of programs and initiatives, conducting post-initiative reviews to determine what did and did not meet those metrics
  • Participating in the development of diversity and inclusion goals, and developing and implementing programs to meet those goals

SHRM also provides a list of typical diversity manager responsibilities. They include:

  • Reviewing current company practices and policies to determine the extent to which they support or hinder diversity goals
  • Evaluating data to determine the diversity of the company’s workforce and whether it matches diversity goals and standards
  • Creating recruiting and hiring strategies to attract employees from diverse backgrounds
  • Developing training and development that supports diversity and retention initiatives
  • Working as a liaison with government agencies on affirmative action and equal employment opportunities

The average annual pay for diversity managers is $84,932, according to PayScale. That is typically someone with five to nine years in the profession. Those with 20-plus years of experience earned more than $121,000.

National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.