Companies Pledged to Promote Racial Equity in 2020. What Does the Data Say? - AIIR Consulting

37 Statistics that Reveal the State of Racial Equity in the Workplace

For many, 2020 was a year of reflection and reckoning around the systems that have perpetuated racial disparities in corporate leadership, with many companies announcing initiatives to promote equity and inclusion within their ranks. Now, two months into the new year, we have seen that while many companies may announced their initiatives with good intentions, overcoming inertia and creating a more equitable workplace is painstakingly slow work. Here are 37 statistics that show the state of racial equity in our organizations, the obstacles standing in our way, and the work ahead.

The workforce is increasingly diverse

1. Millennials and Gen Z are the most diverse generations in history: only 56% of the 87 million Millennials in the U.S. identify as White, compared to 72% of the 76 million members of the Baby Boomer generation.

2. In 1980, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals made up 18% of the workforce. In 2010, that proportion jumped to 36%. BIPOC individuals are expected to comprise more than half the workforce by 2030.

3. Black individuals account for 12% of the U.S. workforce, slightly less than their 13.4% representation in the general population.

4. The number of Black individuals earning bachelor’s and graduate degrees continues to increase.

Yet, Black and other BIPOC workers are grossly underrepresented in leadership roles

5. Just 8% of managers and 3.8% of CEOs are Black.

6. Just 1% of c-suite executives in the U.S. are Black women.

7. In the Fortune 500, there are currently only three Black chief executives. No Fortune 500 companies are led by Black women.

8. At the 16 Fortune 500 companies that report detailed demographic data on senior executives and board members, White men account for 85% of those roles.

9. Black workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as White workers overall. 

10. Black workers with a college degree are more likely to be unemployed than similarly educated white workers (3.5% vs. 2.2%). 

11. 40% of Black workers with a college or advanced degree are underemployed in a job that doesn’t require a college degree, compared with 31% of white college grads.

Black workers, especially women, face more obstacles and have fewer allies at work than their colleagues

“According to both quantitative and qualitative data, working African-Americans — from those laboring in factories and on shop floors to those setting C-suite strategy — still face obstacles to advancement that other minorities and white women don’t. They are less likely than their white peers to be hired, developed, and promoted. And their lived experience at work is demonstrably worse even than that of other people of color.” 

Harvard Business Review

12. 65% of Black people in corporate America said that they had to work harder than their White counterparts to advance. Only 16% of White professionals agree with that statement.

13. Only 31% of Black professionals have access to senior leaders at work, vs. 44% of White professionals.

14. Black women are less likely than White women to say that their managers give them chances to manage people and projects, provide opportunities to showcase their work, or help them navigate organizational politics.

15. And, only 26% of BIPOC women say they have access to a sponsor — an advocate in a position of power and influence who helps create opportunities for another person, champion their potential, and promote them actively.

16. Perhaps these reasons account for the fact that for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 Black women are promoted, despite the fact that Black women ask for promotions at the same rate as men.

17. For every 100 men hired into manager roles, only 64 Black women are hired.

18. 54% of Black women say they are often the only Black person or one of the only Black people in the room at work.

19. And, only one in five Black professionals feel that someone of their race or ethnicity would ever achieve a top position at their company.

20. Black workers with advanced degrees earned 82.4% of the wages that White workers with advanced degrees earned in 2019.

Discrimination is still pervasive in the workplace, with Black individuals experiencing discrimination more often than other people of color

21. 42% of employees in the U.S. have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace.

22. 58% of Black individuals said they experience racial prejudice at work, compared to 15% of White individuals.

23. 43% of Black executives have experienced a colleague using racially insensitive language.

24. 40% of Black employees said they feel it is never acceptable to speak out about experiences of bias.

25. Black workers experience microaggressions in their lives and in the workplace more often than any other racial or ethnic group.

26. Black women, in particular, bear the brunt of these microaggressions. They are 2.5x more likely than White women, for example, to hear someone express surprise about their language skills or other abilities.

27. Women who experience microaggressions are 3x more likely to regularly think about leaving their job than those who don’t.

28. 40% of employees who have experienced harassment, bullying, or stereotyping said it led them to quit their job and seek alternative employment opportunities.

In addition to its moral imperative, diversity and equity provide an undeniable competitive advantage that many companies are still failing to realize 

“Instead of undervaluing and squandering black talent, they must recognize the resilience, robust sense of self, and growth mindset that, studies show, African-American people — as one of the most historically oppressed groups in the United States — bring to the table.”

Harvard Business Review

29. 78% of people believe diversity and inclusion offers a competitive advantage.

30. Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely than others to have financial returns above the industry mean. 

31. Diverse companies enjoy 2.3x higher cash flow per employee.

32. Diverse companies show a 19% increase in revenue compared to their less diverse counterparts. 

33. 43% of companies with diverse boards noticed higher profits.

34. Companies that report the highest levels of racial diversity saw 15x higher sales revenue.

35. Teams composed of both White and Black people are more likely to focus on facts, carefully process information, and spur innovation.

36. Diverse companies are 70% better positioned to capture new markets.

37. Compared to individual decision-makers, diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time.

Leadership 2021

Promoting equity, diversity, and inculsion is an essential part of leadership. To find out how leaders can acheive that and build the right competencies for the challenges ahead, download our Leadership 2021 Trend Report.

AIIR Consulting
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