As Editorial Director Craig Johnson and Associate Editor Danny Romero dived into their research for their feature articles in this diversity, equity and inclusion issue of Staffing Industry Review magazine, they discovered that DE&I initiatives seem to have taken a back seat among many companies that jumped on the bandwagon in 2020. However, for enterprise buyers — the end users of contingent labor — interest in engaging the services of diversity-owned staffing suppliers remains high.

These mixed findings aside, Johnson’s and Romero’s respective articles indicate the presence of hope. Featured in those articles are several of SIA’s 2022 DE&I Influencers, for instance, who since before 2020 have worked to supply and engage a wide spectrum of diverse workers.

To that end, I am proud to introduce the 2022 DE&I Influencers. This group of professionals utilizes a variety of platforms, from speaking engagements to books to podcasts, in order to help educate the ecosystem on the benefits of engaging diverse workers. Similarly, the firms on the Diversity-Owned Staffing Firms list and Staffing Industry Review contributors all do their part to move the DE&I needle forward. Take a moment to read their stories and peruse the lists. They are inspiring, to say the least.

If we don’t move toward a more equitable workplace, the US will be paying the price in more ways than one. According to a recent The New York Times article, social isolation and loneliness cost employers more than $154 billion annually in stress-related absenteeism, plus more in job turnover, according to studies by AARP and insurance giant Cigna. Meanwhile, we know from other research, such as by McKinsey & Co., that companies with more diversity within their ranks and among their leadership outperform their peers. Which direction the industry heads is up to each of you.