The workplace is not always a welcoming place for women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups. Differences in career opportunities and wage disparity have led to uneven participation in economic activity. In the U.S., this has been noted particularly in gender differences. Women account for 47% of the labor force but occupy only 17% of the board seats. Of the firms represented in the S&P 500, only 24 have a female CEO. The situation is not much different with respect to race. While Hispanics comprise 17% of the US labor force and have a higher labor participation rate than any other race, they occupy less than 10% of management roles. Race has been linked to unequal access to the most critical drivers of economic success, namely power, privilege, and control.
Business and institutions can do more to create a fair and equitable society. A rising focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) has become a step in the right direction. However, the real impact of existing programs is minimal, primarily due to ill-informed practices or lack of full commitment from organizational leaders. Below is a list of the biggest missed opportunities resulting from making misplaced investments in D&I.