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Zoom Cuts DEI Jobs and Shifts Strategy

Like many tech companies, Zoom is laying off employees, eliminating 150 jobs. Zoom included its diversity, equity, and inclusion group in those laid off. Zoom's chief operating officer, Aparna Bawa, announced that instead of having an internal team devoted to workplace issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion, the company would bring in outside consultants to focus on inclusion. In a statement to Fast Company, Zoom said it “remains committed to DEI and ensuring its principles remain firmly rooted in our DNA across our entire company.” The company plans to “support and champion inclusion by embedding our values — and what it means to be a Zoomie — directly into our people programs rather than as separate initiative after the fact.”

According to a Monster report, other tech companies also reduced DEI during job cuts. Per Fast Company, 400,000 tech jobs were eliminated between 2022 and 2023, and companies gutted many DEI teams. Twitter reduced its 30-person DEI team to just two people after layoffs and Elon Musk's takeover. Amazon purportedly replaced its experienced employees in DEI with cheaper, less-experienced employees.

Zoom hired its first chief diversity officer in June 2020. The officer left after less than two years, and the company never replaced him. Other DEI officers have similarly left their posts, possibly from shrinking resources and the challenging nature of the work. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling prohibiting the consideration of race in college admissions has led to more scrutiny and challenges to DEI work. A focus of U.S. culture wars, companies seemingly want to change their approach to avoid conservative legal challenges. JPMorgan Chase, Tesla, Google, and Meta altered their diversity initiative language and programs.