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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why Aren't More Black Women Getting Promoted?

By Jennifer Millman

© DiversityInc 2007 ® All rights reserved. No article on this site can be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other, without prior written permission of the publisher.

Date Posted: July 27, 2007

Black women aspire to corporate leadership, but they don't feel that hard work and a positive outlook will pay off, finds a new League of Black Women survey. Many feel persistent stereotypes are stifling their talent and potential, and poor utilization of their skill sets and education relegates them to dead-end jobs, which leads to lower engagement and fewer meaningful connections at work.

A few highlights from the survey of black women:

Nearly 80 percent think racial attitudes diminish their ability to be effective leaders Only 57 percent feel they can reach their potential in spite of these barriers Only 20 percent are "very satisfied" with their overall lives, which is based on the quality of their personal and professional relationships, especially with each other, having black-female executive role models and opportunities for career development Sixty-two percent say they give more of themselves at work when they feel valued for who they are, which many feel doesn't happen often enough.

Recent data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission underscores these concerns. Black women remain woefully underrepresented in corporate America, particularly at the management level. They account for 16 percent of the female private-industry work force├»¿½more than Latinas or Asian women├»¿½but just 9 percent of officials and managers, the lowest ratio of work force to management of all women of color.

By comparison, 24 percent of the female work forces among the Top 10 Companies for African Americans are black, compared with 19 percent of The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®. Eighteen percent of the women promoted in management are black, compared with 13 percent for the Top 50.

The national survey, conducted in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton from 2005 to 2007, identifies proactive ways companies can increase retention among black women by providing advancement and networking opportunities and promoting authenticity.

Which Federal Agencies Fail at Diversity? EEOC Tells All

By Jennifer Millman

© DiversityInc 2007 ® All rights reserved. No article on this site can be reproduced by any means, print, electronic or any other, without prior written permission of the publisher.

Date Posted: August 07, 2007

Federal law requires "each agency shall maintain a continuing affirmative program to promote equal opportunity and to identify and eliminate discriminatory practices and policies," reports the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but according to the agency's latest report, that doesn't appear to be happening.

People of color represented a third of the federal work force in 2006, which is on par with U.S. demographics and The 2007 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity®. Their representation at the management level, however, tells another story.

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DiversityInc reported on the dearth of people of color in federal management jobs last year, and on the lacking number of people with severe disabilities, such as deafness, blindness and paralysis.

(See also: EEOC Report: Few People of Color in Federal Management Jobs and The Government's Failed Promise: Why the Feds Can't Keep People With Disabilities, from the October 2006 issue of DiversityInc magazine)

Accountability stems from measurement, as the DiversityInc Top 50 companies know. Their successful best practices provide a valuable resource to government agencies on how to do better in this arena. The government took a step forward by appointing its first chief diversity officer, Barry Wells, at the Department of State, but much work has yet to be done. Read a profile of Barry Wells in the April 2007 issue of DiversityInc magazine on the business case for affirmative action.

The EEOC's annual report, which was released in late June using 2006 data, summarizes EEO activities in federal government and includes work-force profiles of 49 agencies with 500 or more employees broken down by pay level and demographic group. The full EEOC report is available here.

Here are some of the highlights:

Blacks remain above their popular representation in the federal work force, accounting for just more than 18 percent, which has remained stagnant for the last decade. This doesn't translate to the senior pay level, however, where blacks only are 6.5 percent of the work force—down 0.2 percent from 1997. The participation rate of black men also has gone down when compared with women Latinos remain underrepresented at all levels of the federal work force, accounting for 3.7 percent of the senior pay level (up nearly 1 percent since 1997) and 7.7 percent of the total federal work force. This lacking representation is particularly concerning because Latinos are the fastest-growing population in the United States, yet their representation in federal government is up only 0.7 percent from last year, when national attention was drawn to these numbers Individuals with targeted disabilities have been declining as a percentage of the federal work force since 1997 and now account for 0.94 percent of the overall work force and 0.46 percent of senior-pay-level staff Asians are more represented in the senior-level work force than they are in the general population and are more represented in the federal work force overall than their representation in the general population would suggest Women have made minimal progress at the senior pay level since 1997, despite accounting for about 43 percent of the total federal work force Clear pay disparities also exist, particularly along racial/ethnic lines. Government-wide, the average pay grade in the general-schedule system, which is comprised of federal managers and supervisors and accounts for more than 54 percent of the federal work force, was 10.0.