Recently, there have been calls for big businesses to increase workplace diversity. Although there's a well-documented lack of workplace diversity in many industries and regions, responsibility for these disparities does not lie solely at the door of the business community. There are many causes of labor market disparities. Still, a call to focus on workplace diversity within a region's business community may serve two valuable functions. First, providing firms with a benchmark against which to compare themselves may encourage them to participate in regional efforts to address the underlying causes of these disparities. And second, a well-designed benchmark could serve as a useful metric of overall progress if the region were to adopt a comprehensive plan to address the many complex underlying problems that engender racial and ethnic inequality.

This article appeared in the Second Quarter 2021 edition of Economic Insights. Download and read the full issue.