4 powerful benchmarks for DEI Strategy

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September 27, 2021

Strenghten your approach:

How is your organization doing when it comes to setting realistic targets, identifying gaps, and prioritizing data-driven decisions that will ensure your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are on track?

Even though 81% of US employers say they are committed to improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, only 40% set formal, quantitative goals or targets for DEI outcomes like representation, according to recent research conducted by Mercer.

It's time to live up to the promise. Getting there starts today.

While many companies set out with the best of intentions, the truth is that most struggle to achieve tangible progress on DEI.

The technology industry is no exception.

The most effective DEI strategy is evidence based. Companies that get it right are experts at conducting data-driven analysis (e.g., employee listening) and using reliable external DEI benchmarks to measure their progress and prioritize improvement opportunities that drive meaningful impact. It's simply the best way to build a diverse workforce with an equitable and inclusive culture.

And while having formal goals for diverse representation and driving increased workplace diversity through hiring are a good start, they are not enough to achieve a sustained impact.

Organizations need to consider the whole picture and expand their DEI strategy to focus on comprehensive approaches that cover hiring, development (performance, promotion, and pay equity), and retention. Yet, according to Mercer's recent "Let's Get Real About Equality" research, less than 60% of organizations track rates of hiring, promotions, and exits by ethnicity/gender and career levels.

How can tech companies get on top of their game when it comes to DEI? The Mercer | Comptryx workforce benchmarking solution empowers human resources and business leaders at technology-focused companies with insights for moving the needle on DEI metrics.

What type of insights? Here are 4 powerful technology-focused benchmarks from the global Mercer | Comptryx solution to help you establish formal goals so that you can make meaningful progress on your DEI strategy.

Powerful Benchmark #1

Hiring rates for African American and Hispanic populations exceeded those for white populations for R&D and Sales job functions but lagged in Product Management.

The first step in setting formal DEI goals that go beyond diverse workforce representation is focusing on incoming talent — specifically, establishing hiring targets on diverse candidate slates (and/or the proportion of new hires that meet those diversity targets).

Mercer | Comptryx can be a huge help in assessing the impact of diversity recruiting initiatives on new-hire rates and how an organization is doing in building diverse talent pipelines.

By examining job functions, levels, and locations, organizations can identify which departments are realizing meaningful progress and which lagging areas need focus. This also assists in making the business case for setting formal goals to close gaps against DEI market trends.

For example, looking at hiring rates by ethnicity for technology-focused companies reveals that progress is being made, as the hiring rate for African Americans is 72% greater than that of whites. Beneath this clear progress, however, is noticeable variation, which opens up opportunities to improve resource targeting to further advance diverse hiring.

Implication for action: Examine new-hire rates internally and compare them to external benchmarks for ethnicity and gender to assess the impact your organization's DEI strategy is having on building a more diverse workforce.

Powerful Benchmark #2

Women are promoted in Senior Management at twice the rate of men in the Sales and Legal functions, but in the Finance function, promotion rates are half those of men.

Diversifying incoming talent is a short-term solution if an organization does not have an inclusive culture with the appropriate practices and policies to help diverse and underrepresented groups grow, develop, and thrive.

The logical next step in leveraging data to define and make the case for formal DEI goals is to examine the developmental component of the organization's talent flow compared to relevant external benchmarks.

For example, considering promotion rates by gender, only 43% of organizations report women are equally represented in people manager roles.2

Mercer | Comptryx provides robust technology-focused benchmark data on promotion rates, as well as performance review distribution metrics, by gender and ethnicity groups across job functions, career levels, and locations. Armed with these insights, go beyond understanding the broad landscape. The on-demand, potent analysis is designed to cut benchmarks by function and level so you can identify where there are DEI program concerns on the progression of women and/or diverse ethnic groups to certain job levels.

Implication for action: Use external benchmark data to identify gaps in advancing your organization's DEI strategy; for example, compare your promotion rates with market benchmarks of other technology-focused companies to determine where action is needed to create inclusive policies.

Powerful Benchmark #3

Career-level female software engineers receive higher base salaries than males in Philadelphia, Detroit, and Houston; however, base salaries for women software engineers significantly lag salaries of their male counterparts in Chicago, Seattle, and Baltimore/Washington, DC.

An important part of an organization's DEI strategy is regularly and proactively assessing pay equity. Mercer's "Let's Get Real About Equality" report demonstrates that pay equity is a proven driver of culture and future representation of women. The research reveals 58% of organizations rely on a robust statistical approach to conducting pay equity analysis. The best companies integrate external benchmarks with internal analysis to fully assess pay equity progress.

Mercer | Comptryx benchmarks include deep (gender) wage gap analytics for technology-focused companies to help identify where-and by how much-the wage gap is closing or exhibiting a noticeable differential (i.e., lack of progress).

For example, wage gap benchmarks by career level and job function allow companies to pinpoint trouble spots so they can focus on remediation practices and policies and drive upward progress.

Implication for action: Adopt a more disciplined and robust method to analyze gender pay equity by using external benchmarks to help identify where your rewards program could be more effective in creating equitable pay outcomes.

Powerful Benchmark #4

African Americans receive top performer ratings at around only half the rate of whites. They also have a voluntary turnover rate that is higher than that of whites (there are smaller gaps for Hispanic Americans versus whites).

Going beyond setting diverse workforce representation goals and measuring the impact of a DEI initiative, organizations need to use data to drive progress in equality of opportunity and experience for people of color and women. It's essential to examine both internal analysis (e.g., engagement scores) and external benchmarks in setting goals to measure how effectively the organization's DEI strategy can be sustained for the long-term growth of diverse talent.

Mercer | Comptryx helps human resources and business leaders establish goals for retaining diverse talent by supplying strong benchmarks on performance rating distributions and exit rates.

For example, looking at the overall technology-focused benchmark, African Americans receive top performer ratings at about 40% the rate of whites/Asian Americans (only 23% of organizations routinely review performance ratings by ethnicity), and the turnover rate among African Americans is 39% higher versus whites.

Implication for action: Look deeper to examine the impact your DEI strategy has on your workforce outcomes by combining internal assessments of policies and programs with external market benchmarks. This will uncover your DEI impact on diverse groups (ethnicity and gender), while prioritizing efforts to address areas of concern for creating an inclusive environment.

How do your organization's DEI advancements compare to market benchmarks?

Get insights on market trends to set realistic targets, identify gaps, and prioritize data-driven decisions that advance your DEI initiatives.

Mercer | Comptryx market benchmarks provide robust workforce insights for overall market trends and for key competitors. You'll see exactly where there is work to be done in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. Set realistic DEI targets to improve the effectiveness of your data-driven decision-making. This powerful, on-demand analytics platform lets you go beyond tracking diverse workforce composition internally by comparing your organization to relevant external benchmarks: assess where your organization's diverse workforce composition may be lagging compared to the market, identify gaps in talent flow outcomes (e.g., new hires, promotions), and prioritize areas of concern to address for advancing your organization's DEI initiatives.

Find out how you compare on DEI and discover what you could be doing better.

Talk to us about Mercer | Comptryx today and get on the path to creating an effective, sustainable DEI strategy that outshines your competition.

www.imercer.com/comptryx     surveys@mercer.com | 855-286-5302