Companies that emphasize Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) tend to experience better financial returns; therefore, these jobs are in demand.
DEI workers work to address unconscious biases and eliminate racism, sexism, gender inequality and other forms of workplace discrimination. They create inclusive job descriptions and reshape company culture to accommodate a more diverse workforce.
Senior Diversity Officer
A senior diversity officer is typically the top-level position at most colleges and universities, requiring broad leadership abilities and high-level strategic thinking. This position often arises through forward-thinking by college or university presidents; however, they may also arise due to student protests, unrest on campus or needing gender equity programs on campus.
Senior Diversity Officers have the responsibility of developing and implementing programs, initiatives and activities related to diversity and inclusion. They may lead trainings and workshops as well as devise strategies that improve communication, collaboration and teamwork between departments, divisions and campus communities. Finally, senior diversity officers work alongside other leaders in institutionalizing an inclusive culture throughout their organization.
One key aspect of this role involves listening to different perspectives and understanding their impact on individual work outcomes such as satisfaction, productivity and effectiveness. This requires taking an empathetic view and seeing through others’ eyes; experiencing life through their eyes.
Depending on the size and scope of an institution, salaries for senior diversity officers typically range between $70,000 to $140,000 annually and include benefits like health, life, and retirement plans. They often report directly to either their chief diversity and inclusion officer or another senior leader.
Women of color often find this role to be extremely challenging, particularly as they must serve both as caregivers and builders of an inclusive organizational system. Darius Hills observes in his article “Admirable or Ridiculous?” that this image can be especially damaging in higher education institutions where Black women may feel pressured into serving as “Mammy” figures in order to promote marginalized groups’ advancement.
An ideal senior diversity officer possesses a master’s degree in higher education or related field and extensive professional and progressive leadership experience with diversity and inclusion efforts in an educational setting, typically over seven years. Furthermore, excellent written, interpersonal and public speaking skills as well as knowledge of national best practices related to institution-wide diversity and inclusion efforts are required of this role.
Mid-Career Diversity Officer
One of the more recent diversity jobs, optimizing an organization’s efforts towards creating a more equitable workplace involves analyzing and optimizing its efforts for creating such environments. Alongside managing programs to achieve equality in the workplace, this role also handles cases of discrimination or harassment that arise within its domain.
Diversity and inclusion officers at companies can be a forceful agent of change, but their success depends on C-suite executives understanding and prioritizing this work. Furthermore, it’s critical that point people not be used as an easy route into a leadership role – or else this might backfire on them.
Young professionals interested in this type of career should seek opportunities to gain experience related to their interests and long-term career goals. For instance, young lawyers might benefit from volunteering at an organization focused on social justice issues which offers hands-on experience with discrimination, privilege, equity and belonging issues.
Requirements for this position are similar to those of a senior diversity officer; however, qualification requirements tend to be more stringent. Candidates for such jobs typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in an area like law, social justice, sociology or business administration – although an advanced degree focusing on human resources, business or public administration is typically preferable.
An effective mid-career diversity officer needs a comprehensive knowledge of public policy as changing laws can impact DEI plans in real time. Furthermore, they should have strong communication skills both with executives and employees of all levels within their company.
Finally, it is imperative that any position held by an aspiring leader not just a title or token role. Otherwise, it won’t generate the commitment and energy necessary to bring about real change – for instance if a young woman of color with outstanding leadership abilities receives the title “chief diversity officer”, yet fails to reach higher tiers of an organization due to not making senior management, she may become disengaged and less likely to champion and support such initiatives in future.
Diversity and Inclusion positions exist across businesses of all types. While their roles may look different depending on industry, diversity and inclusion initiatives remain an integral component of human resources and a crucial support to company goals and initiatives. Many times these positions exist separately from other departments within a company so the person can focus on solely diversity and Inclusion efforts without jeopardizing other duties within their job description.
This position not only works to make company policies more inclusive, but also ensures employees feel welcomed in their workplace environment by providing training and making the workplace safe for everyone. Furthermore, this job ensures compliance with labor laws as well as eliminating discriminatory hiring practices within the organization.
This role typically supports a senior diversity officer and is filled by mid-career employees. This position typically reports directly to the head of HR.
Responsibilities of this position include managing employee-led initiatives, providing training and implementing programs to enhance workplace conditions for people from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, this role oversees metrics and reporting for diversity programs – including government compliance requirements and returns on investment metrics.
Companies that promote diversity and inclusion are better equipped to attract talent, retain customers, meet regulatory requirements and respond more swiftly to changing customer needs and business disruptions – this is why it is crucial for any organization to have an appointed diversity and inclusion manager in place.
Diversity and inclusion managers are charged with helping employees develop skills to effectively communicate with one another while understanding perspectives from different cultures. These professionals offer training on topics like microaggressions, bias, and discrimination as well as helping their peers manage conflict effectively or manage uncomfortable situations.
Diversity and Inclusion managers also play an integral part in creating employee groups, whether these be interest-based like knitting club or sports teams or characteristic-based such as women in business or LGBTQ employees’ organization.
Diversity specialists strive to ensure everyone in an organization has equal access to resources. In this role, you may act as the go-to resource for employees with queries about equity issues – therefore possessing strong communication skills will be necessary. In addition, diversity specialists work closely with other departments and employees across divisions to organize and deliver presentations or trainings about diversity issues and events for employees across different divisions.
Equalities, diversity and inclusion officers often specialize in specific fields like disability or race relations; however they can also find employment in smaller local authorities, youth services, community-based organisations and the private sector. There may also be specialist roles within education where they focus on cultivating good relations between minorities or providing academic support to students as they study for exams.
Starting off, equality, diversity and inclusion specialists typically start on an estimated salary of PS18,000. Experience and management qualifications may help increase this amount; in general though, salaries for equality specialists tend to be higher in public sectors and larger organizations.
Equality, diversity and inclusion specialist jobs offer an ideal way to further your HR career without becoming overspecialized in any one area; however, prior to applying for one you’ll need some background in equality-related topics and laws as well as best practices in order to be successful in the role. Successful performance requires having a firm grasp on both legal requirements as well as being able to identify and prioritize priority equality issues within your company.
Make the shift toward equality, diversity and inclusion with a bachelor’s degree in human resource management or business administration from an institution known for supporting social change. In addition, certification programs offered through traditional colleges or online organizations may help.
By cultivating the necessary knowledge, skills and relationships for this field of work, you can make an impactful difference both locally and globally. Reach out to Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business to explore ways you can advance your career with one of its flexible bachelor degree programs in this field.