A new report finds most New Jersey workers feel positive about diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplaces, but significant divisions remain along racial, gender and political lines.

The State of Diversity survey, released by Taft Communications, the Rutgers Eagleton Poll and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, finds Garden State employees are a bit more likely than people in other parts of the nation to interact with someone of a different race or ethnicity in the workplace.

Ashley Koning, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University, said the poll finds “about 80% of employed individuals in New Jersey say they interact at work with someone who is different from them in terms of race or ethnicity on a daily basis, compared to 68% nationwide.”

She noted the survey also finds “58% of New Jerseyans who are employed say these interactions outside of work are a daily practice for them, compared to 50% in the national survey.”

Digging deeper

She said while the numbers indicate Jersey is a very diverse state, there are some demographic disparities.

Koning said 73% of New Jersey employees believe everyone at work is treated the same regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference but upon closer inspection “we find 34% of Black respondents and 23% of Hispanic respondents say that some employees are treated differently than others, compared to 18% of white respondents.”

With regard to experiencing discrimination in the workplace, she said 44% of workers said they have personally been discriminated against based on their race, gender, religion or sexual preference, but “among Black workers 63% say they have experienced discrimination often or occasionally, this is compared to 37% of white workers and 45% of Hispanic workers.”

Different groups have different experiences

The poll also finds there’s a gender gap, with 47% of women saying they have occasionally or sometimes felt discriminated against, compared to 40% of men.

The poll also finds 61% of workers believe their employer should play a role in promoting racial equality, such as making public statements about diversity or donating to related causes.

Black workers (72%) were more likely than whites (56%) or Hispanic (64%) workers to feel that way.

Democrats (81%) were far more likely than Republicans (41%) to think so.

The survey was conducted on the phone by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, between November 17 and December 10, 2021. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.0 points, including the design effect.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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