Why Aren’t Black Employees Getting More White-Collar Jobs?

Source: Michael Gee, Harvard Business Review, February 28, 2018

….Decades later, I’ve seen very little progress in minority executive employment. It seems the national conversation and media focus on the subject have resulted in minimal impact. And yet the ecosystem supporting diversity is quite large — government agencies, formal corporate diversity programs, universities, consultants, and dozens of civil rights advocacy groups. So why has change been so slow?

For one thing, political rhetoric has created public tumult about the drivers of middle-class decline: globalization, technology, and immigration’s impact on U.S. jobs. Another recurring theme is an allegedly unlevel playing field for white males created by public- and private-sector diversity programs (affirmative action) to attract and promote a more diverse workforce. And the courts have weighed in on “reverse discrimination” cases, slowing the growth of diversity in some universities and companies.

As a longtime African-American executive who’s skeptical of reverse-discrimination claims, I wanted to find answers to a few questions: What exactly do black employment numbers look like today? How are blacks faring in promotions? Are blacks’ gains in executive and management ranks keeping pace with gains in the professional workforce?….