According to a study by Alexandra Kalev, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, when a company is faced with the need to downsize personnel, women and minority employees are more likely to lose their jobs. These workers might be labeled as redundant or non-essential more frequently than their white male colleagues.
While diversity and inclusion in corporations revolve around hiring, recruitment, promotion, and work/life balance, we can see exactly the role they play when it comes to downsizing. Professor Alexandra Kalev says:
“We see that they get in, but they remain in their segregated positions, assigned to support, or non-core management jobs or they’re assigned to line management in failing parts of the company, failing lines, struggling locations. So that’s not integration. That’s not inclusion. That’s exactly one big reason why they lose their jobs when downsizing comes.”
Moreover, when referring to occupational segregation, in some industries, women and minorities might be concentrated on specific areas like human resources, marketing, or administrative support, and since these jobs are not necessarily perceived as essential, they are often the first ones to be cut when layoffs are required.
However, even though some specific roles, such as secretaries, receptionists, or accounting jobs are seeing diversity, more and more jobs are being computerized and automated. Therefore, more women and minorities could be suffering the consequences.
Also, in other workplaces, women and minorities can be the new hires compared to the white male workforce, so when the layoff season comes they are the easy targets since they do not have any deep connections or longstanding relationships.