Rescuing Diversity From the DEI Backlash

Rescuing Diversity From the DEI Backlash


Diverse workforces are here to stay. Companies need to find new ways to manage them

By Sarah Murray

Originally published by The Financial Times on

At IBM, the holistic approach extends beyond company walls to deepening the talent well from which it can draw. For example, its SkillsBuild free education programme focuses on communities that have traditionally been under-represented in the tech sector.

And in 2016, IBM began removing the four-year degree requirement from many of its job postings. “We tested it out by hiring people without the four-year degree and they were very successful,” says Nixon-Saintil. “So we now prioritise in-demand skills over specific degrees, and we can get more applicants and talent to fill those roles.”

For Yoshino, the backlash against DEI leaves plenty of room for manoeuvre. “There’s so much that companies can do that travels under the banner of DEI that would still be perfectly legal,” he says. “For chief diversity officers it’s finding that sweet spot.”

But he sees that task as critical. “There are broad irreversible trends in society,” he says. “For me, the writing is on the wall as to how we’re going to have to manage a globally connected society.”

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View the original press release on

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