EIC study reveals widespread DEI dissatisfaction

CAPTION: While there is an ever-growing awareness and commitment toward equity, survey scores indicate DEI efforts are largely in principle, but not in practice

There is widespread Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) dissatisfaction among event professionals, minority groups and women, according to Events Industry Council’s (EIC) 2022 Equity Benchmarking Study.

The study was done in partnership with its global EIC Equity Task Force which was appointed in 2020 to address systemic racism and all forms of discrimination in the business events and hospitality industry.

While there is an ever-growing awareness and commitment toward equity, survey scores indicate DEI efforts are largely in principle, but not in practice

The Equity Benchmarking Study included a series of EIC leadership focus group discussions and an AI-based chatbot survey of 1,404 event professionals across the industry.

To produce an objective assessment, the current DEI experience in the events industry was measured across four dimensions: Ownership, Accountability and Power of Influence, Delivering Change, and Sustaining Change. The global survey was conducted by Tharoor Associates and Culturelytics from September 2021 to January 2022.

It found that:

  • Employed event professionals (83% of all survey respondents) are significantly more dissatisfied with DEI in the industry than those who are self-employed or have alternative employment types.
  • 61% of all surveyed event professionals identified as White and are predominant across all job grades, with minimal representation from other ethnicities, especially in senior management (15% Black) and board (6% Black) positions.
  • Respondents who identify as Black (16%) rated their DEI experience 11% lower across all four dimensions than respondents who identified as White.
  • More than 75% of respondents identified as female, and they are well represented in managerial and senior roles. Six out of 10 (61%) female respondents are in ‘Senior Management’ and ‘Board’ job grades, yet they rated their DEI experience significantly lower than male respondents (21%).

“It’s crucial that we champion inclusivity in our sector as a means to drive economic and social progress,” said Amy Calvert, EIC’s CEO. “DEI needs to be embraced by organisational leadership to be effective. Results from our 2022 Equity Benchmarking Study underscore we have a significant way to go, particularly in advancing ethnic diversity, gender inclusivity, and equity in leadership and influential positions. EIC’s Equity Acceleration Plan will enable us to measure progress as well as improve our ability to deliver impact and sustain change.”

The benchmarking study is Phase One of EIC’s Equity Acceleration Plan. Phase Two includes a leadership workshop to review the study and shape resources and deliverables for the benefit of EIC membership.

“Dismal Black and Brown representation within the events industry presents barriers to diversity and inclusion in leadership and influential positions needed to impact change,” said Jason Dunn, Sr., EIC Equity Task Force co-chair and past chairman of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals.

“Dispersed power and greater ownership of roles at all levels are rooted in an authentic DEI strategy, which in turn strengthens our industry’s infrastructure and positions us to compete on a global scale. Bottom line, the events industry propels the global economy, through thoughtful high-impact events. It’s time for us to apply the same commitment, resources and metrics at an accelerated pace to intertwine DEI principles in all that we do.”

The full study can be found here.

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