Being Black in Corporate America: An Intersectional Exploration
A multifaceted analysis on the obstacles that prevent many black professionals from reaching the C-Suite.
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Key findings include:
- Black professionals are more likely than White professionals to be ambitious, yet nearly on in five feel someone of their race/ethnicity would never achieve a top job at their companies
- Black professionals see barriers to advancement that are largely invisible to White professionals
- Few have access to senior roles
- They are more likely than any other group to encounter racial prejudice at work and experience certain microaggressions at higher rates than all other professionals
- Intersectional differences arise within all the identities explored in the full report (First to attend college; Gender; Generation; HBCU attendance; Heritage; Job level; Region; Sexual orientation)
- Less than half of all professionals think their companies have effective D&I efforts
- White women are not seen as advocating for others
- Unique sets of D&I staples improve outcome for Black men and Black women:
- For Black women: Clear expectations for inclusive behavior; A positive reputation around diversity and inclusion; Clear communication of how promotions work; The CEO/President is committed to diversity and inclusion; Accountability for harassment, regardless of an employee's seniority or performance
- For Black men: Provide funding to attend external conferences for people of color; In-person bias awareness training; Moderated forums for conversations about race; Senior leaders who are people of color
According to the study, microaggressions can consist of:
- Colleagues have touched my hair without my permission
- I have been told I'm 'not like others' of my race/ethnicity
- I have repeatedly been told that I'm 'articulate'
- Others have regularly taken credit for my ideas in meetings
- I have been excluded from meetings relevant to my job
- Others have mischaracterized me as 'angry'
- I have been excluded or passed over for growth opportunities
- My manager has met one on one with others on my team, but not with me
- Colleagues have asserted that they are 'color blind' (e.g. 'I don't see race')
- I have to explain what it's like to live as a peron of my race/ethnicity
- I have been mistaken for someone else of the same racial background
- Colleagues have told me they have friends of my race/ethnicity
- Colleagues have asserted they're not racist
- Colleagues have used racially insensitive language around me
The full key findings report can be downloaded here.