Racial Disparities in the Workplace

April 7, 2011  |  

(The American Prospect) — Given the proliferation of corporate publications and websites that feature smiling minorities, one might think that the days of stark workplace segregation are long gone. And while, yes, the American economy is no longer formally segregated, the data clearly show a workforce where minorities remain greatly underrepresented at management and leadership levels and overrepresented in low-wage work.  A 2007 study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination law, found that only 20 percent of minorities are midlevel managers, despite the fact that they account for 34 percent of the total workforce. Moreover, only 24 percent are white-collar professionals and 17 percent are executive or senior-level officials. At the highest levels of corporate governance, these numbers are even smaller. A survey released last year by the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force found that just 14.5 percent of directors on corporate boards are people of color.

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