HR leaders say they’re still committed to DEI in 2024 despite the ‘anti-woke’ backlash

by Paige McGlauflin, Joseph Abrams

Last year was undoubtedly pivotal for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The Supreme Court’s June ruling striking down affirmative action in university admissions emboldened “anti-woke” activists targeting corporate DEI programs.

Diversity initiatives suffered a blow last year, and companies investing in DEI fell to 27% in 2023, down from 33% in 2022. That number could drop further to 20% in 2024, according to a report from research and advisory company Forrester. But that doesn’t mean that HR leaders are happy about it. None of the 194 CHROs polled in a Conference Board survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2023 plan to scale back their DEI initiatives in 2024, and 63% plan to focus on attracting a more diverse workforce.

It’s unclear whether HR leaders are engaging in wishful thinking, if they’re simply redefining how to measure DEI initiatives, or if there’s another reason for this discrepancy. But several HR and diversity chiefs told me late last year that they and their companies remain committed to reaching their diversity goals despite any Supreme Court decision.

“For us, it means more doubling down, more focus, more diligence to make sure that we have a diverse workforce because we believe that’s where innovation is gonna come from,” says Jacqui Canney, chief people officer at ServiceNow. “I don’t see us diverting our efforts at all. And I believe a lot of other CHROs, that’s the same path they’re going to take.”

Karyn Twaronite, EY’s global vice chair of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, says executives at the global companies she speaks with continue to invest in DEI programs “because they know that this is incredibly valuable from a business perspective…and they’re not prepared to walk away from that tremendous business lever.”

Plus, employees want diversity and inclusion…

To read this article in its entiretly at, click here.