Huge Gaps in of Diversity in Business Leadership – A Systemic Issue Needing a Systemic Approach, Part 1

Many people in the industry continue to state that our corporate leadership is getting more and more diverse, touting the increase in women, people of color and LGBTQ people reaching the highest echelons of business leadership. In addition to these optimistic statements being heard nationwide, they are frequently spread across my local area of Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill, North Carolina, often called the Triangle. We are a leading center for the high tech, health care, pharmaceutical and education industries.

So I was in for a shock when I received my November 22, 2019 Triangle Business Journal. This issue featured the 50 fastest growing privately-held companies in the Triangle with brief descriptions and photos of the CEOs. As I went through the first several, I noticed how all the photos starting looking similar; and then I decided to count them. These 50 fastest growing companies are led by 44 white men, 3 white women, 2 Asian men and 1 black woman. What extraordinary optics! I immediately reached out to share this with an area consultant I often collaborate with, Al Sullivan of Inspirus Consulting, to discuss these numbers.

Even as I was drafting this blog in mid-December, a New York Times article by Lauretta Charlton titled “Few blacks to be found at the top of the corporate ladder,” (link) also appeared in our Raleigh News and Observer. She reported that there are only four black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (that’s less than 1%,) down from 7 less than a decade ago.

One recent report by the leading consulting company McKinsey & Company (link to the study) completed an extensive study across 222 companies employing more than 12 million people. Some of their findings include:

• Women remain significantly underrepresented in the corporate pipeline from the outset. Even though women represent 57% of college graduates, fewer women than men are hired at the entry level.

• White men are in 36% of the entry level roles. That increases to 47% of management, 61% of vice presidents and 67% of the C-Suite.

• Men of color are somewhat underrepresented compared to white men, 16% of entry roles, 16% of management, 11% of vice presidents and 12% of C-Suite.

• White women fare worse; 31% of entry roles, 26% of management, 23% of VPs and 18% of C-Suite.

• And women of color are far under-represented in leadership roles, declining from 17% of entry roles down to 11% of management, 6% of VPs and only 3% in the C-suite.

Is this what the C-Suite is supposed to look like in today’s world? (Photo in the public domain)

Another way of looking at the data is a percentage under-represented or over-represented they are in senior leadership compared to entry level jobs.

All things being equal (and we know they are not), the ideal fair state would be each particular demographic being the same percentage of the workforce across all levels from entry level to vice president to c-suite.  Looking at the data this way:

  • White men are over-represented in VP and c-suite roles by 91%
  • Men of color are under-represented in VP and c-suite roles by 38%
  • White women are under-represented in VP and c-suite roles by 42%
  • And women of color are under-represented in VP and c-suite roles by 77%!

Clearly we are not moving along in the area of diversity in career progression as we should. Why might this be happening, and systemically, what can be done?

And now  here is part 2:  Five Tactics to Address the Systemic Issue of the Lack of Diverse Business Leaders.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]

Happy New Year – My Top 7 Blogs of 2019

One of my top blogs of the year just published in mid December deals with how the huge proliferation of robocalls are ruining our lives and productivity.

I am now enjoying this annual tradition of reviewing my website statistics for the past entire year and listing my top seven most read blogs as a New Year feature.  And this year, since there was a tie for 7th, I will feature 8 blogs.

I normally blog about my two areas of consulting a few times each month: Diversity with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace; and career and skills development based on my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping process. And once in a while I throw in a more personal blog or rant about something that is irking me.

In 2019, only three of my top 8 were published this year; the rest were first published in previous years, but people are finding them by web searching on various topics. Six of the top 8 dealt with some kind of diversity topic, one was around career development, and one a personal rant about the dramatic disturbing increase in robocalls.

Here are the “Top 7 of 2019” in reverse order:

7) Tied for number 7 was a blog about including people with mental illness in the diversity discussion. It featured a game-changing organization, the Farm at Penny Lane, and its many innovative programs to integrate people with severe mental illness into the mainstream.

Also at number 7 was a blog that reached this height for the year even though it was not published until mid-December and only had a few weeks to run. It’s title: “Help this blog go viral and create a movement – shut down all robocalls.” Robocalls are ruining our way of life and destroying productivity.

6) Blog #6 was also published in December and reached this level quite quickly – In “Five Examples of LGBTQ Equality – It’s Equal Rights, Not Special Rights,” I dispel this myth of so-called “special rights” by sharing five examples.

5) Number 5 was the 2014 – 2016 number 1,the 2017 #2, and the 2018 #3, actually published way back in 2011! As many people search for online resources about diversity training, they found and read my 2011 blog “Three Components of Diversity Training,” where I discuss three major components required for diversity training and exactly who within an enterprise should be trained. I have also updated that blog to include links to more resources including to a blog sharing a sample outline of diversity and inclusion training contents.

An illustration of a partial career map as interest in skills and career development grows.

4) My fourth most popular blog was last year’s number 5 – “Three Wonderful Recent Examples of Diversity and Sports,” in which I provide short summaries with links about an NFL football player with one hand, an WNBA player who is a new mother with her wife, and a college track star who overcame a harsh abusive upbringing in Africa.

3) And a surprising number 3 this year was my blog published way back in 2011 on using career mapping as a tool for career development. This new-comer to the list may signal an increased focus on the importance of investing in skills and career development as a way to recruit and retain the best employees. You may also want to check out my 11-question Skills Development and Career Road Mapping organizational self-assessment.

2) Number 2 for the second year in a row was “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People”, a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

2019 Pair Skating Champion Timothy LeDuc (center with partner Ashley Cain-Dribble, my parents and me) is one of my featured out gay skaters – he’s a great community advocate

1) And finally, by a complete runaway with over 13,000 hits across the two blogs was last year’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman) and my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.”

Thanks to all the readers who enjoy and share my blogs. In 2020, if you want to be notified each time I do publish, you can like my business facebook page (Link), or if you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, I include a short summary and links to the past month’s writings.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful 2020 filled with much contentment, success and probably a wild and crazy US Presidential election year!