Every day on our social media accounts, we hear announcements of new hires or new diversity roles at organizations in every industry. This consistent percolating of investment announcements could lead us to believe that we are progressing in the level of value that organizations are placing on diversity and inclusion initiatives.  

However, through ongoing monitoring on LinkedIn of active diversity and inclusion job postings, I began to wonder if the investments in these efforts were being made strategically?  Were positions just being concentrated at the corporate headquarters in specific regions of the country? Are these human investments aligned to geographic differences in industry concentrations? Are the postings aligned to the greater need industries? 

With current resources, I was humble and realistic that I would be unable to conduct an air-tight academic analysis. However, I could perhaps identify some areas that may warrant further strategic consideration. I decided to survey the number of LinkedIn profiles in three states (Illinois, New York and California) to see if could find any indication of how the states were doing in comparison to one another in regards to investments into diversity leadership.

What was tallied?

  1. The total number of professionals with the term “Diversity” in their title who listed specific industries and lived within the major metropolitan areas of the state [see table below].
  2. 2018 Population and workforce figures for each state.

What were some things that I found?

Totaling state population and state workforce numbers, I estimated the proportion of the total population that reflected each state. New York had a 50 percent larger population than Illinois and California had a 200 percent larger population than Illinois.

Investment in diversity leadership roles per capita:

  • New York had a significantly higher than anticipated investment in most industry areas (approximately 3x the anticipated amount in some places).
  • California had a significantly lower than anticipated investment in most industry areas (approximately 75 percent less than the anticipated amount in some places).
  • Illinois had a slightly higher than anticipated investment in most industry areas.

Largest concentrations above their population proportion

  • Automotive/logistics
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil, mining and utilities
New York
  • Entertainment and events
  • Legal, justice and government
  • Health
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing (which it was in alignment with its overall population figures)
  • Oil mining and utilities
  • Technology

Data Implications for Further Analysis

Although companies who are continued to support and create new diversity-related roles should be applauded, as diversity, equity and inclusion advocates, there are some things that we need to be monitoring to prevent gaps:

Talent For organizations that operate across multiple states, is the home state for the position (or ability to allow remote work) impacting the talent pool for companies and available career opportunities for diversity and inclusion professionals?
Industry Focus Yielding Results Do industries with the higher concentration of investments appear to yield greater results than those areas with lower than anticipated concentrations?  If differences are not showing a significant impact, what additional resources or issues need to be addressed?
Industry Focus Strategy It has been proven in numerous studies that diverse companies are more profitable. Therefore, if an industry is seeking to prosper, it should not be asked if an industry should be investing in diversity leadership. However, perhaps due to the size of the workforce, strategic initiatives for growth, or current deficits in diversity; there should be additional leadership resources dedicated to certain industries for a particular region.


Again, this analysis is not meant to draw conclusions, but utilized to determine if there are additional questions that should be asked. For those with questions on how I navigated this analysis, feel free to keep reading the methodology below.


Framing Total Workforce Size Differences

The smallest town in Idaho should probably not invest the same in diversity roles as Miami, if for no other reason than population size alone. Therefore, what the BLS reported December 2018, employed workforce numbers for the three areas were the following:

Illinois 6,194.00
New York 9,239.20
California 18,705.00

From these figures,if Illinois were considered the baseline, the population of New York is about 50 percent greater than Illinois and the population of California is about 200 percent greater  than that of Illinois.

Framing Human Diversity and Inclusion Investments

As already mentioned, LinkedIn was going to be used to provide a dirty data snapshot of industry investments in diversity and inclusion. Two major limitations must be noted in using this method:

There is no policing of LinkedIn profiles   

Therefore, the sample group will likely be missing some professionals and have some included who no longer have active roles in the industry.

There is no title standardization

Due to the need to make this a manageable analysis with no download available, the search was conducted for professionals by industry with “Diversity” in their title.  Some professionals with the more creative of titles will of course be missed.

Geographical Framing

LinkedIn searches perform optimally when tied to a metropolitan area rather than a state.  Therefore, the following chart provides the various metropolitan areas included for each state:

Illinois Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Urbana, Decatur, Bloomington
New York Buffalo/Niagara, Albany, Elmira, Glens Falls, Jamestown, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Ithaca
California Chico, Fresno, Merced, Orange County, Modesto, Redding, Bakersfield, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Stockton, Sacramento, Visalia, Yuba City

Industry Framing

Last but not least, what categories would be included in each industry grouping needed to be defined.  Anyone who has worked with categories industry areas before understands the murkiness – eg is medical device – manufacturing or healthcare..is aeronautics  transportation or manufacturing? For any analysis, an executive decision must be made. This table provides that framework to ensure no categories were missed in comparing to each geographical region:

Technology Computer Hardware; Computer Software; Computer Networking; Information ServicesInformation Technology & Services; Computer Games; Computer & Network Security, Biotechnology, consumer electronics, defense and space, e-learning, nanotechnology, semiconductor
Financial Banking, Financial Services, Investment Management, Investment Banking, Accounting. Venture capital, insurance, capital markets
Transportation & Logistics Automotive; Transportation/Trucking/Railroad; Logistics & Supply Chain; Airlines/Aviation; maritime; Warehousing, shipbuilding
Manufacturing Electrical/electronic manufacturing, Chemicals, Food production, packaging and containers, railroad manufactures, building materials, industrial automation, plastics, aviation and aerospace; machinery
Health Alternative medicine, health wellness & fitness, hospital and health care, medical device, medical practice, mental health care, pharmaceuticals
Law, Government and Policy law practice, law enforcement, legal services, legislative office, public safety, government relations; government administration, judiciary, public policy, alternative dispute resolution
Energy & Utilities mining and metals, oil and energy, utilities; wireless
Entertainment broadcast media, entertainment, event services, gambling and casinos, music
Construction & Facilities civil engineering, commercial real estate, construction, facilities services

About the Author

Maji Tharpe 

Maji is talented in coaching stakeholders, clients and executive leaders to develop and streamline business requirements, process maps, goals, policies and procedures. She understands that the winning tickets for project plans that increase usage, enhance culture, or multiply account revenues include effective change management strategy and diversity of thought. She is an ambidextrous left and right brain leader. Her experience in serving as a consultant to industry, colleges, government, public sector, and CBO’s in large enterprise and district endeavors makes her a trusted consultant and thought partner in the intersection of technology, education, workforce, diversity and development.

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