Survey: 74% of Jerseyans feel employers should play role in promoting racial equity

Nearly three of every four New Jerseyans feel their employers should play a role in promoting racial equity, according to the fifth annual New Jersey State of Diversity Survey, released Wednesday.

The survey found that 74% of New Jersey residents said companies should play a role in promoting racial equity, while only 19% said, “No.”

Opinions did diverge sharply by political affiliation, as 87% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans said their employers should play a role in promoting racial equity.

There were only small differences of opinion by race, age or gender.

The survey was commissioned by Taft Communications and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and conducted by the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll.

The survey, conducted from June 18-29, sought information on various ways that New Jersey employers are responding. Among the findings:

  • 59% of those surveyed said their employer made an effort to build a more inclusive workplace culture;
  • 51% said their employer made a public statement about the importance of racial equality;
  • 44% said their employer made a public commitment to increase efforts toward diversity in hiring;
  • 24% said their employer made a financial donation to an organization that promotes racial equality.

Full 2020 poll results are available here.

Taft President Ted Deutsch said the survey gives detail to how employees view their employers.

“As the national dialogue around racial justice and equity continues, this aspect of the poll provides clear evidence that employees see their employers playing a role,” he said. “New Jersey employees want their employers to take action to build a more inclusive workplace culture. While it is complicated to navigate the most effective way to do so, and how to talk about this challenging issue, many employers are answering the call.”

Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and a professor of politics and government at FDU, said the results show Jerseyans want a team effort on the issue.

“Leaving it solely up to government to come up with solutions to racial inequality is unworkable, and people across the Garden State want the private sector to play their part as well,” she said. “The strong support we see today is testament to belief that a multifaceted approach to racial equality is needed.”

NJBIA head Michele Siekerka said her organization is ready to help businesses on the issue.

“This response, fortunately, is very much in line with businesses we hear from who are looking to take a proactive approach to champion racial equity, both in and out of the workplace,” she said. “NJBIA continues to work with businesses on such best practices through our diversity and inclusion council, which generates a good exchange of ideas on this very subject.”

Respondents were randomly contacted via cellular and landline telephones June 18-29. Those who indicated full-time or part-time employment were asked the questions. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 5.2 points, including the design effect, for the 506 respondents included in this study.