The HR Professional’s Guide to Diversity and Inclusion Jobs

photo of a diverse group of human resource professionals shaking hands

Social justice is a hot topic these days. But the term “social justice” is more than just a buzzword to you. You want to take action and make a difference to bring life to social justice causes like anti-racism.

You don’t have to sit on the sidelines of this important issue! Social justice causes can only move forward when people like you choose to put in the work. You could even turn this passion into a central focus within your career!

The human resources (HR) field offers plenty of opportunities to champion social justice in the workplace. You may be surprised to learn that there are HR positions dedicated to promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity among employees.

So what exactly are these diversity and inclusion jobs, and what do their daily duties entail? Join us as we hear all about diversity jobs from HR professionals who have incorporated equity and inclusivity into their careers.

What diversity and inclusion jobs are available?

Believe it or not, HR diversity jobs do exist. “There is a growing demand for diversity and inclusion roles in modern HR departments,” says Rolf Bax, chief HR officer at Resume.io. “A number of full-time, consultancy-based and intern positions are becoming increasingly common in medium- and large-sized organizations.”

Diversity and inclusion are a relatively new focus at many organizations. Not all of them have the budget to hire a full-time HR specialist in this area. In this case, companies are turning to consultants who help them work toward a diversity initiative for a certain amount of time.

Bax shares that diversity consultant positions may be easier to come by. In these positions, you could work full time for a consulting agency or be a self-employed consultant who runs your own business.

However, there are some downsides for organizations that rely on consultants rather than in-house employees. “To be effective, the person responsible for diversity and inclusion should be a full-time employee who understands the culture and can work within the organizations’ political structure,” says Laura Handrick, owner of an HR and business consulting agency and contributing HR professional at Choosing Therapy.

Think of it as going deep versus going wide: Full-time HR diversity professionals get to help their organization expand their support of an inclusive work environment over time while consultants work with a variety of companies to bring awareness to diversity issues and offer action steps for moving forward. Both roles are important as companies work to create a more inclusive and accepting workplace.

These are some of the job titles that should be on your radar if you’re looking to focus your HR career on diversity and inclusion efforts:

  • Inclusion analyst
  • Employee experience specialist
  • Diversity partner
  • Director of diversity
  • People operations manager
  • HR diversity manager
  • Diversity consultant

What are the job duties of an HR diversity professional?

You can guess from the job titles above that not all diversity professionals have the same job duties. For example, inclusion analysts work with data to identify departments that are lacking in diversity and to track and interpret the progress of the company’s inclusion initiatives. On the other hand, a director of diversity will develop new programs and training to promote diversity and support different groups in the company.

Handrick shares that her workday includes meeting with the director of diversity, planning inclusive events, reviewing company policies surrounding diversity and inclusion and training managers in growing and supporting a more diverse workplace. Bax adds that some of these roles also include looking at the big picture by finding opportunities to increase the organization’s overall social responsibility.

Job duties can also vary depending on the workplace. Full-time employees are more likely to encounter a mixture of traditional HR duties, like onboarding new hires, alongside their inclusion-related tasks. Consultants are often called upon to help an organization create an implement a single diversity initiative. They’ll typically follow steps similar to these, shared by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

  1. Compile and analyze data to determine necessary changes
  2. Create a strategy that matches business objectives and supports diversity, equity and inclusion
  3. Implement the diversity initiative
  4. Evaluate results, and continue making adjustments

Whether your natural skills lean toward crunching numbers, working with people or creating educational training programs, there’s a place for you in diversity and inclusion roles.

What type of training is required to enter this field?

You’re certain the HR diversity field could satisfy your passion for incorporating social justice into your career—but you’re not sure about the training and experience required to get started in these roles.

Our experts agree that a basic level of human resources understanding is necessary to get your foot in the door of diversity and inclusion roles. You should be familiar with in-demand HR skills like employee relations, onboarding and project management.

The best way to gain those skills is typically by enrolling in a quality degree program that’s tailored toward human resources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most HR specialists and managers require a Bachelor’s degree with some in management going on to earn a Master’s degree.1

Once your education and basic HR skills are covered, it’s important to communicate to potential employers that you have a particular passion for diversity and inclusion roles. An up-to-date understanding of diversity and inclusion concerns and issues is essential, according to Bax.

Handrick adds that employees who have personal experience with the importance of diversity in the workplace are a valuable asset to organizations concerned with social justice. “These positions often go to an HR professional who understands from experience the value of an inclusive culture,” she says. “They may have experience in organizational effectiveness or multicultural studies and often speak a second language.”

Is a diversity-focused HR job in your future?

Could landing one of these HR diversity and inclusion jobs check all the boxes for you? Maybe it sounds like a dream career to be able to incorporate your passion for social justice with your daily work!

While an HR career focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives certainly sounds like it could be a dream scenario, you still want to have a clear idea of what to expect in an HR career. Our article “Everything You Need to Know About Working in Human Resources” can give you the inside scoop.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed February, 2021] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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