In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, Google, along with other tech companies, initiated programs to support Black employees and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These initiatives aimed to increase representation in leadership positions, double the number of Black workers, and address hiring and retention disparities. This was part of a wider movement in corporate America to address racial inequalities.
However, by 2023, there was a notable decline in DEI efforts. Job postings related to DEI fell significantly, and both Google and Meta reduced staff and programs under DEI investments. This trend affected not only internal programs but also external organizations dependent on corporate sponsorship for DEI initiatives.
Despite these cuts, both companies asserted their ongoing commitment to DEI, with Google and Meta emphasizing efforts to maintain and initiate new programs and partnerships. Google, for example, contributed to historically Black colleges and universities and created funds for women entrepreneurs. Yet, the cuts were significant, affecting various programs, staff, and partnerships dedicated to DEI.
The reduction in DEI initiatives comes at a time when advancements in technology, particularly in AI, necessitate diverse perspectives to avoid perpetuating existing biases and power imbalances. The pullback has led to concerns among experts and activists about the potential long-term effects on corporate culture and technological development, particularly as younger generations increasingly value inclusive and equitable workplaces. Despite the reductions, some are hopeful for a renewed focus on DEI in the future, emphasizing its importance for both societal equity and business success.