Report: Diversity Falls Off in Elite Careers

Report: Black Professionals Losing Out in Elite Careers

workplace diversity

workplace diversityThink the election of Barack Obama spurred an era of diversity in America’s top and high-paying professions? Here’s more evidence that it has not:

Progress for African-Americans has remained slow— and in some cases has stalled— as companies are making diversity even less of a priority, the New York Times reports.

How so? Despite some high-profile exceptions, about 3.2% of senior executive positions at the nation’s biggest companies are held by blacks, according to an estimate by the Executive Leadership Council.

What’s more? According to census data and analysis prepared for the Times, about a5 percent of physicians and dentists in the United States are African-American, even while 12 percent of the nation’s working-age population is black. And that number has not grown since 1990. The analysis also found that 3 percent of architects are African-American. That number, too, hasn’t increased in more than two decades.

And lawyers? The share of lawyers who are minorities and women had been growing steadily for years, but fell in 2010 for the first time since 1993, when the National Association for Law Placement began keeping the statistics.

Pauline Higgins, a longtime diversity officer at a 126-year-old law firm in Texas, put it best:

“You don’t want to be a diversity officer who only buys tables at events and seats people,” Higgins told the Times. “It’s about recruiting and inclusion and training and development, with substantive work assignments.”

(Just a heads up: The Supreme Court could rule on an affirmative action case, as early as this week. Stay tuned.)