HomeAsian AmericansIndustry Leaders Find Asian Americans Are Least Likely to Be Promoted

Industry Leaders Find Asian Americans Are Least Likely to Be Promoted

Though Asian Americans make up a larger proportion of the professional workforce than the demographic’s overall share of the population, their odds of climbing up the ladder are most slim.

A recent op-ed in Harvard Business Review analyzed national workforce data to show that white professionals are twice as likely to be promoted into manager roles than Asian American colleagues. Asian employees were the least likely to be promoted out of any race, including blacks and Latinos.

Researchers have spotted this trend in a number of private industries, including technology, accounting and corporate law.

The public sector might also play a role. In 2016, Asian Americans made up nearly 10 percent of all federal professionals but only 4.4 percent of workers at the highest level.

The op-ed authors, Buck Gee and Denise Peck, recommended three key steps for corporations to fix the “Asian glass ceiling:”

  1. Be data-driven in looking at retention and promotion rates of Asian Americans, including both race and gender, to identify specific barriers to progression.
  2. Encourage CEOs and C-suite executives to visibly and proactively show their support for the advancement of minorities by shifting priorities and budgets to fund new programs.
  3. Institutionalize the importance of diverse leadership, including Asian Americans, in the company’s leadership development process.

“Asian Americans are the forgotten minority in the glass ceiling conversation,” they wrote. Gee is a former Silicon Valley executive and Peck is a former executive at Cisco and Sun Microsystems.

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