The definition of DEI

DEI is an acronym that stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. These metrics are vital when building and maintaining a thriving workplace, providing everyone a fair opportunity within the working world, no matter their social background, sexuality, gender, or ethnicity.

DEI and DEI data have become increasingly public over the past years, especially after a 2014 report. Large tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple released their diversity reports. These reports revealed a significant underrepresentation of black and Hispanic employees.

Although these initial reports came out almost ten years ago, the lack of representation and equal access to industry positions hasn't seen much progress. A 2019 report revealed that people of color constituted only 5% of Silicon Valley tech firm employees. With statistics like these, it's striking how much progress there is to make on DEI in the workplace.

What's the difference between diversity, equity, and inclusion?

These three terms are frequently mixed up, with people using them interchangeably when, in fact, they're not the same thing. Let's break them down:

  • Diversity - Diversity is anything that sets two people apart. This could be gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or even native language or political orientation.
  • Equity - Equity is the act of giving people equal access by providing tailored resources that take into account their starting position.
  • Inclusion - Inclusion is a principle where individuals are treated with fairness, kindness, and respect.

What is DEI Data?

DEI data compiles information about demographics in business. From the diversity of the applicant pool to a national average percentage of a particular minority in a specific role, everything is taken into account to ensure different demographics are adequately represented in the workforce and management.

Additionally, some DEI data will look at financial figures and how different demographics are compensated for doing the same job. This extends even into leadership positions, with DEI data revealing the makeup of upper management.

The central focus of DEI data is to inspire diversity and alert businesses when their bias is leading to the under-hiring of minorities in their recruitment processes.

Why DEI data is essential.

Without data, a project striving for DEI has no clear metrics for tracking or goals to strive toward. There are two primary sources of data to draw from when creating a DEI program:

  • Internal data - The survey of your current workforce that establishes current DEI with concrete statistics from your workplace profile.
  • External data - The more important of the two data sets, external data allows you to establish if you align with the local or national average for particular diversity demographics.

By taking internal surveys and comparing them to the DEI national or local data for your area, you'll then be able to understand how DEI currently stands in your workplace. More often than not, conducting this comparison will lead hiring managers to realize that they must improve upon DEI in the workplace.

The DEI assessment will place these data sets into the conversation, looking at DEI differences to illustrate the current extent of diversity in the workplace.

Develop Effective DEI Recruiting Initiatives and Practices

When attempting to develop DEI within recruiting, there are three individual stages that you need to focus on. Each of these has different initiatives and practices that you can put to work to create a more DEI-friendly recruiting process.

These three stages are:

  • Creating diversity in sourcing
  • Increasing diversity in candidate screening
  • Boosting diversity in both shortlisting and hiring

Let's discuss some methods you can bring to your hiring and interview processes.


Sourcing is ensuring that a diverse range of people apply to any job posting your hiring managers put out.

One primary way of increasing the amount of diversity within your talent pool is by directly targeting diverse candidates. You could now reach out to the target candidates and urge them to apply. Technology extensively uses this tactic, with Women in Coding being a critical demographic target of this recruitment drive.

Another possibility to increase the diversity in your sourcing process is to offer internships directly to specific communities, helping them get into the field. Even if they're not an excellent fit for your company, offering internships will help further open doors for them in the future and contribute to a more diverse talent pool for the future.

Candidate Screening

One of the best ways to eliminate bias and boost the diversity of candidates through the screening process is by using blind resumes. By taking off personal information, like names, date of birth, and gender, you instantly inspire a screening process that only looks at what matters - experience and qualifications.

Additionally, you can use blind interviews, proposing text-based questions to potential hires and allowing them an equal amount of time to respond to them. There are also AI software applications in this modern age that you can use to collect, and screen resumes automatically, further taking human bias out of the picture.

Shortlisting and Hiring

At this point in the process, if you have followed the first two stages, you should already have a much more diverse talent pool. One of the best strategies to ensure that various candidates have a better chance of getting hired is by providing that there is as high a percentage as possible of diverse candidates in the final selection pool.

Another significant step you can take is to hire a head of DEI in your business, which can then take over on this final stage. Bringing in a hiring manager who has experience working in DEI and doesn't know any of the candidates will make the final decision much fairer.

Although this process isn't perfect, actively striving to create a more diverse workplace is a great place to start.

How to get the DEI data you need

As DEI becomes ever more present in the minds of hiring managers around the globe, new data-driven solutions have begun to spring up. The most comprehensive of these is Horsefly Analytics, which gives ethnicity and demographic data on international and national scales.

By accessing their data pools, you'll be able to more effectively conduct workforce planning by getting an insight into what current DEI benchmarks look like for specific roles. By performing a candidate pool demographic scan, you'll be able to more accurately use data to find areas where diversity can be improved in your system.

The actionable demographic information sets Horsefly apart from other labor market data platforms, allowing you to take the data and then create an action plan that will help you improve your DEI initiatives.

How to use DEI data when recruiting and interviewing candidates

Data is the central key to creating an effective DEI program. Without benchmarks that demonstrate the national average for specific roles or positions, you'll have nothing to compare your company to. Equally, when looking internally, DEI data allows you to realize if you're on track to create a diverse workplace.

When looking to create an effective DEI program, you should focus on three steps:

  1. Develop a hiring plan that takes into account DEI
  2. Train your hiring managers on DEI
  3. Evaluate and refine over time

Let's break these down further.

Developing a hiring plan that takes into account DEI

Information is the central pillar upon which great DEI hiring stands. One of the first steps, when you're developing a hiring plan, is to consult national labor statistics to look at benchmarks your business should be striving towards.

These comprehensive datasets will give you a national or international view of how ethnicity and demographic data are displayed. You'll then be able to hone in on your area to set more realistic targets for your business.

When crafting your job postings, consider amplifying the range you send them. Instead of posting to just LinkedIn, think about placing job notices in locations where a more diverse selection of individuals will see them.

Train your hiring managers on DEI

Unconscious bias is incredibly detrimental to the professional lives of minorities. Even if you don't believe that you have racist tendencies, critical race theory has proved that unconscious biases permeate the lives of most people.

One of the first steps to combating this bias is to address it and make sure that your hiring managers know it.

Another way that you can ensure your hiring process is more favorable to DEI is to ensure that the team that's doing the hiring is diverse. Creating a diverse leadership will ensure that hiring is also more varied and further inspire a broader pool of applicants.

Evaluate and Refine over time

Part of creating an effective process is refining it as you go. If you believe that you already have a sound system in place, there is always room for improvement.

Go back through your process, try and identify:

  • Pain points in the process of hiring
  • If you have a diverse leadership team in charge of the hiring process
  • If your job posting is written using inclusive language
  • Are you asking all your candidates the same questions in the interview?

Once you've looked internally, you can also use external DEI statistics to compare your business to external labor market data. This allows you to gauge if you're doing enough to stay ahead of the broader labor market. If your company is falling below national averages, you should change your process.

Final Thoughts on Using DEI Data to Create a More Diverse Workplace

Considering that diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions than monocultural ones, creating a diverse workspace will help your business thrive. Alongside this, various management leads to 19% higher revenue overall.

In a world where workplace diversity is still severely flagging, your business can use DEI data to create a better company culture for everyone. By looking at national averages provided by Horsefly Analytics, you can set your company on the correct path towards an inclusive workforce.

Smarter & More Informed Hiring Strategies

Unlock Accurate Labor Market Data with Horsefly:

With Horsefly, you can leverage our comprehensive labor market data to identify and connect with the right talent for your organization, even when dealing with these more niche pain points.

Horsefly helps with:

Lack of accurate representation

Companies may struggle to ensure diversity and accurate representation in their workforce, leading to bias and poor decision-making. Labor analytics software can help by providing insights into demographic breakdowns and identifying areas for improvement.

Finding sustainable talent

Hiring sustainable talent is essential for long-term success, but companies may struggle to find the talent they need. Labor analytics software can help by identifying pools of sustainable talent and providing insights into how to attract and retain them. Horsefly can help identify potential sources of talent and map out a strategy for recruiting and retaining top talent.

Difficulty in finding and deploying talent

Organizations need to be able to find and deploy talent effectively, but this can be a complex process. Labor analytics software can help by providing workforce snapshots and benchmarks, identifying where talent gaps exist and helping companies to find the talent they need. Horsefly helps companies deploy their talent effectively to ensure optimal performance. Workforce snapshots and benchmarks provided by labor analytics software can help to achieve this.

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