Report: Diversity Falls Off in Elite Careers
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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.)

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Aaron Morrison

Aaron Morrison is an award-winning New York area-based multimedia journalist with a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Aaron uses video, audio, photography, the web and social networks to tell captivating stories across all media platforms. Over the last year, Aaron has worked as a general assignment reporter for the Daily Record (Gannett) in northern New Jersey. Before that, he spent the spring of 2010 as the temporary legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press' statehouse bureau in Trenton, N.J. In his down time, Aaron enjoys the company of his friends and extended family. He is a fan of culinary arts and dreams of having a home kitchen so tricked out that Julia Child turns over in her grave.