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New MissionSquare Research Institute Study Finds Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion a High Priority for Most Local Governments

July 7, 2022

Webinar on July 12th to Review Findings

A new research report from MissionSquare Research Institute finds workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a high priority for 56% of local government human resources staff. The most common focus of local government DEI programs and policies is on the equitable treatment of employees (52 percent), an area that most respondents (70%) say has been successful. 

These findings are detailed in a new research report from MissionSquare Research Institute, Managing Workforce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Local Government. Read the research.

Register here for a webinar on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, at 1:00 PM ET with the International City/County Management Association to review the findings.

The report is based on the results of a national survey conducted by Greenwald Research on behalf of MissionSquare Research Institute in December 2021 and January 2002. The survey polled 353 human resource managers in local government and K-12 public education to assess their organization’s experience and approach to DEI programs as part of their recruitment, retention, and workforce management efforts.  

“MissionSquare Research Institute continues to track the employment levels, composition, and talent needs of the state and local government workforce. This new DEI survey report represents a key addition to these efforts,” said Joshua Franzel, MissionSquare Research Institute Managing Director.

“These findings are important for helping inform public organizations as they strive to be model employers that effectively develop inclusive work environments, communicate career opportunities to all members of their communities, and ensure robust professional development for all public employees,” Franzel added.

Additional research findings are as follows:

  • 42% of those polled say their organization has formal DEI programs and policies in place to support their DEI goals, and 26% have informal programs or policies.
  • K-12 employers and communities with a population higher than 25,000 are more likely to have DEI policies or have systems in place to measure results.
  • Among formal data collection methods, the most common is around the hiring and retention of a diverse workforce (15%).
  • Senior leadership is viewed as supportive of DEI efforts (69%), as are employees (65%).
  • The key barriers to implementing DEI programs include a lack of diverse job candidates in the local labor market (87%), difficulty attracting and retaining a diverse staff (85%), and general recruitment challenges related to COVID-19 and the Great Resignation (74%).

Previous related research from the Institute, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Public Service Workforce,” outlines diversity data and trends by occupation as well as research on related policy approaches and is available here. Additional focus group research on managing local government workforce DEI will be released later this year.

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