Black professionals are not rising in the ranks to top positions within companies, in spite of millions of dollars corporations have spent on diversity initiatives.
These findings were included in a new report entitled, “Being Black in Corporate America: An Intersectional Exploration,” which was conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation. Discrimination and microaggressions that impact Black professionals at higher rates than any other racial or ethnic group of people, coupled with lack of access to senior leadership and support from their managers, is largely to blame for why blacks only account for 3.2 percent of all senior executive roles in large companies and 0.8 percent of all Fortune 500 CEO jobs although they comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population.
“We hope that business leaders will respond to these findings by making a serious assessment of their own workplaces and creating a comprehensive plan of action,” Pat Fili-Krushel, the center’s CEO, said in a statement, according to CBS News. “We are especially concerned about the lack of awareness we discovered among white professionals.”
One thing is clear, according to the New York City-based think tank: Black professionals are quitting their jobs in frustration because they can’t get ahead.
In the study, which was funded by Disney, Pfizer, and other large corporations, roughly 65% of blacks interviewed said they felt they had to work harder to move up the corporate ladder. This compares with 16% of white employees answering the same question. The survey was conducted online and by phone in June, and 3,700 college-educated people, who had earned at least a Bachelor’s degree and worked in a white-collar job, were allowed to participate.
Instead of empty and broad-based diversity initiatives that don’t get to the root of the problem or measure results, the study concludes that companies should incorporate bias training for managers, and roll out actionable and consistent standards for employees to follow to earn promotions. The study also suggests that companies should create a diversity hiring strategy that is solely targeted for Black employees.
“It’s embarrassing because there are thousands of black people who are just as qualified or more qualified than I am who deserve the opportunity, but haven’t been given the opportunity,” former American Express CEO, Kenneth Chenault, told the study’s researchers, according to CBS.