Job Seekers Value Diversity When Looking for a Job, Cite Discrimination as Reason to Quit

Workplace diversity ranks high on job seekers’ list of priorities when looking for a job, according to a ZipRecruiter survey conducted in early October 2019. Overall, 86% of job seekers say it is somewhat or very important to them personally that people of different backgrounds are represented in the workplace. The survey is the first annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Survey conducted by ZipRecruiter.

Millennials and Generation X,* the two largest generations in the workforce, are more likely than any other group to say that workplace diversity is very important to them. They are also the groups most likely to say that their current employer is not placing enough emphasis on making sure people from different backgrounds are represented in the workplace.

Older job seekers are more likely to say they have experienced workplace discrimination. That is partly because spending more time in the workforce exposes one to a greater chance of being discriminated against, and partly because older workers often encounter a new form of discrimination–ageism.

Younger job seekers are more likely, however, to say that their experiences of discrimination resulted in them quitting a job. The finding suggests that employers can boost retention, particularly of younger workers, by addressing discrimination in the workplace effectively. Especially in a tight labor market where replacing employees can be difficult and expensive, workplace discrimination may be too costly for employers to ignore.

That may partly explain why employers are rapidly expanding their investments in DEI programs. In ZipRecruiter’s employment marketplace, job postings for DEI practitioners** have been increasing at a rate of 40% per year, on average, since 2015—far faster than the growth in job openings overall (approximately 13% per year over the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Methodology: ZipRecruiter surveyed 6,178 active job seekers and 350 employers on the platform between September 2019 and October 2019 to gauge their attitudes on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the workplace. Active users are defined as logged in, registered users who visited ZipRecruiter’s job marketplace during that time period.

*Generation Z is defined as people born since 1997, and who are therefore 22 years old or younger in 2019.

Millennials are defined as people born between 1981 and 1996, and who are therefore between the ages of 23 and 38 years old in 2019.
Generation X is defined as people born between 1965 and 1980, and who are therefore between the ages of 39 and 54 years old in 2019.

Boomers are defined as people born between 1946 and 1964, and who are therefore between the ages of 55 and 73 years old in 2019.

**DEI practitioners are people who lead, manage, or coordinate DEI efforts in their organizations.

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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