Diversity Statistics in the Workplace


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Report Highlights

  • The United States Census Bureau reported that in 2017, the male gender represented 53% of the workplace workers.
  • In the same year, the US Bureau of Labor statistics found that African Americans made up 12.7% of the American workforce.
  • Pew Research found that in 2017, 35% of the workplace workers in the US were millennials.
  • According to Pew Research Centre, 70.6% of those in the workforce identify as Christians, while 22.8% of people at workplaces do not identify with any religion.
  • 20% of employees in the American workplace have a psychiatric challenge as per the Americans with Disabilities Act National Network.
  • The Centre of Disease Control says that only 19% of those living with disabilities and are of age participate in the workforce. The participation rate is 66% for those living without disabilities.

diversity at the workplace statistics

Gender Diversity in the Workplace

  • According to Fortune Magazine, only 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies had women as their CEOs compared to 93.4% that had men at the helm, as of 2020.
  • McKinsey & Company says that companies with gender equality are likely to record 15% higher returns than their counterparts. The firm also says that the GDP could increase up to 26% if gender equality in the workplace was embraced.
  • 30% of company boards do not have women in them, as compared to a negligible percentage of 0.4% in the case of men.
  • The US Bureau of Statistics says women dominate Healthcare and Social Sciences fields. They constitute 82% of social workers and more than 93% of dental assistants.
  • The participation of women is low when it comes to more technical and high-paying jobs. Women account for just 14% of software engineers, 20% of civil engineers and 26% of mathematicians. These figures suggest that men continue to dominate STEM –associated professions.
  • A study by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in Australia in February this year revealed that post-COVID, the workforce participation of different genders is almost the same for both genders. The rate of women participation is 47%.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

  • Research conducted by Zippia in 2021 found that in the US native Hawaiians (68%) have the highest participation rate in the workforce. Biracial persons have a rate of 66%, Hispanics 65%, Whites 64% and Asians 63%.
  • As of August 2021, 54% of Asian Americans employed in formal professions held management positions. The figure is 41% for whites, 31% for employed Black Americans, and 22% for the Latinos.
  • Minorities face promotion struggles when compared to White employees; 65% of employees in entry level positions are White as compared to a figure of 85% for employees in corporate positions.
  • In Q3 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that White and Asian American employees earn averagely more than African Americans and Latinos as of 2021. The median salary for Whites was $1,024, while Asian Americans earned $1,309. Hispanics on the other hand earned a median salary of $779 and Blacks earned $799.
  • 96% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are white, 1.8% are Asians, 0.8% are Blacks whereas 1.2% are Hispanic.
  • By the end of 2020, the majority of the firms in the US were mainly owned by the White population. Only 28.8% of firms were owned by persons of color.
  • Interestingly, ethnicities play a role in workplace diversity across the globe even as seen across major companies. In 2018, Deloitte reported that its minority workers earned 8.7% less than employees of other racial profiles.
  • Further, PriceWaterhouseCoopers said that its Black, Asian and minority ethnic group had a pay gap of 12.8% during the specified period.
  • Research conducted at the Australian National University in 2013 found that ethnicity has a role to play in entering the workplace. They found that to get an opportunity to sit in for an interview, Indigenous applicants had to send 35% more applications, and Chinese applicants sent 68% more applications as compared to their White counterparts.

Education Diversity in the Workplace

  • Statistics from the National Centre of Education Statistics showed that by 2016, 54% of Asian Americans had completed a bachelor’s degree. This represented the highest rate as compared to the 21% of Blacks, 15% of Hispanics and 35% of White Americans. In line with this, individuals without a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $400,000 less than those with it in their lifetime.
  • 55% of Black Americans over the age of 25 have the education necessary to join the workforce as compared to 68% of White Americans and 39% of Latinos.
  • A study conducted by Strada revealed that Blacks and Hispanics were more likely than whites to enroll in education and training programs after the pandemic.
  • Research conducted by Empirical Research in Education and Training found that the pay of workers where vocational training was combined with formal education was 19% higher than where the employee lacked diverse training.

People Living with Disabilities

  • The US Bureau of Statistics observed that in 2021, the participation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce is 20.6% as compared to those without with a participation rate of 68.6%.
  • According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, people living with disabilities make up to 7% of people in the workforce.
  • The employment rate for individuals with disabilities was 46.6% in 2015.
  • A briefing paper presented to the House of Commons in the United Kingdom in May 2021 stated that the rate of participation in employment among people living with disabilities was 52.3% as compared to 54.1% from the previous year.
  • Besides, 20% (8.4 million) of the working age population in the UK reported that they were disabled. About half of this number were in employment by the end of 2020 which was an increase of 25,000 from the previous year.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase of 1.8% in the proportion of unemployed people among the disabled from 45.9% in the year leading to October 2021 in the United Kingdom.

Sexual Orientation Diversity in the Workplace

  • About 1 in 5 members of LGBTQ+ face discrimination when searching for employment.
  • Race comes into play in cases of sexual profiling as an eighth of Black, Hispanic, and Asian employees have lost their jobs when they revealed that they were gay compared to 4% of Whites.
  • Research conducted by McKinsey states that LGBTQ+ women make up 2.3% of entry level employees in the US. However, there is a disparity in promotion as only 1.6% of managers are LGBTQ+ women.
  • A study by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation reported that as of 2018, 46% of LGBTQ+ workers were closeted in their workplaces.
  • The Centre of American Progress survey says that 15% – 43% of gay people have faced workplace harassment, which gets worse for transgender as 90% of them have experienced workplace harassment.
  • The Human Rights Campaign survey has indicated that 31% of LGBTQ+ employees feel depressed due to exclusion at their workplace.

Age Diversity in the Workplace

  • According to the US Bureau of Labor, in 2020, the median age for men in the workplace was 42.0 while that of women was 41.9.
  • Further, the average age among Whites was 42.7 while that of Blacks and Hispanics was 39.8 and 38.5 respectively.
  • The US Bureau also reported that the aging population, over 65 years, made up over 20% of the employed population in 2020.
  • According to Senior Living, in 2019, 53% of those aged over 65 and having higher education were more likely to retain their places at work.
  • The Office for National Statistics in the UK reported that between June and August 2021, the employment rate for those aged between 16-64 years was 75.3%, a figure which was 1.3 % higher than the pre-pandemic numbers. This employment rate was a 0.5% increase over the last quarter.
  • According to the Australian Seniors Series, as of 2021, more than 75% of working Australians over 50 years would prefer to work indefinitely, while 90% of retirees plan to re-enter the workforce.

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace

  • Research published in the Journal of Contemporary Religion suggested that in 2017, over 19% of Americans faced workplace discrimination due to their religious affiliation.
  • A survey by ComRes Faith Research Centre found that 3% of employees have faced discrimination based on their religion.
  • Research carried out by Ecklund in 2016 showed that 44% of Muslims had faced discrimination at work as compared to 41% of Hindus and 30% of Jews.
  • A study by the Social Science Journal reported that in 32% of instances, religion is used as a factor in hiring. Interviewees who did not identify with any belief received the highest rate of callbacks at 22%.


  1. Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
  2. Diversity in the workplace statistics
  3. Gender workplace statistics
  4. Diversity In The Workplace Statistics
  5. Ethnic diversity in the workplace: a guide for Australian graduates
  6. Educational diversity and individual pay
  7. Inclusion and diversity
  8. Disability Statistics
  10. How the LGBTQ+ community fares in the workplace
  11. LGBT in Britain – Work Report
  12. Age Discrimination: 25 Crucial Statistics
  13. Religious Discrimination in the Workplace [mini-report]
  14. Disabled people in employment
  15. Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force
  16. Usual weekly earnings of wage and salary
  17. Employment in the UK
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