Demographic research to leverage DE&I practices

Apr 12, 2023 | DE&I/Culture Projects, Research

Author: Marloes Rozing
Labor Force Demographics
When researching labor force demographics, there are many challenges to navigate

When leaders want to increase focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their organization, often the first question they have for their DE&I or HR Leaders is: “How diverse are we currently? What does representation mean? Where do we need to focus our attention? How can we collect this information? Whom or what do we compare ourselves to?”

Recently, the KLPA Research team completed a piece of research into global labor force demographics for one of our clients. Our Research team also created a guided process and training format that our client can continue to use to update the research on a regular basis.

A couple of findings from our research:

Each country’s (and region’s) population demographic is unique and not recorded in a consistent manner
Even data sources that are considered reliable, such as censuses and national statistics, are impacted by trust and disclosure issues.
Even the most common data sources, like the census, are challenging to access.
Data from different sources cannot be compared one-to-one; we encountered variations in Research Methodology and variations in Word Choice.
69 countries in the world currently have laws that criminalize homosexuality, and therefore it is not possible to access any official data on this diversity group.

Reviewing labor force data also led us to insights on what cultural levers are important when looking for results in improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within an organization:

Career progression for historically marginalized or underprivileged groups clearly continues to lag behind employees of the demographic majority groups.
A lack of understanding or knowledge about challenges for historically marginalized groups is a main inhibiting factor. More learning, more training, and more knowledge are still required with hiring managers, sponsors, mentors, and leadership.
An organization needs to invest in a culture of openness and curiosity around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and acknowledge that it’s common to get it wrong. A growth mindset is key to improvement.
Metrics and benchmarking can help measure progress.

Comparing country demographic research with employee demographics at a company is even more challenging, as without proper preparation, such as reviews of local privacy laws, an employer will not be able to collect demographic data from its employees in a data-secure and privacy-safe manner. In addition, employee engagement issues, lack of trust, or enhanced skepticism to such data gathering may also get in the way of collecting employee demographic data.

If your organization is interested to find out more about our research or work with us to grow your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Culture, we look forward to hearing from you.