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 Feature Article
Saturday July 28

Asian Americans Are the Least Likely Group in the U.S. to Be Promoted to Management

Asian Americans are the forgotten minority in the glass ceiling conversation.

This was painfully obvious to us while reading the newly released diversity and inclusion report from a large Silicon Valley company: Its 19 pages never specifically address Asian Americans. Asian men are lumped into a “non-underrepresented” category with white men (we’ll say more about that below); Asian women are assigned to a category that includes women of all races. In contrast, the report addresses Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans as distinct categories. Ironically, the chief diversity and inclusion officer of the company remarked about its efforts, “If you do not intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude.”

But excluded from the report was the fact that Asian Americans are the least likely racial group to be promoted into Silicon Valley’s management and executive levels, even though they are the most likely to be hired into high-tech jobs. This was a key finding in a 2017 report we coauthored for the Ascend Foundation (“The Illusion of Asian Success”), analyzing EEOC data on Silicon Valley’s management pipeline.

Across the country, the results are the same. Our analysis of national EEOC workforce data found that Asian American white-collar professionals are the least likely group to be promoted from individual contributor roles into management — less likely than any other race, including blacks and Hispanics. And our analysis found that white professionals are about twice as likely to be promoted into management as their Asian American counterparts.

It is easy to understand why Asian American representation in the workforce may not seem to be an issue. In some key measures, Asian Americans are the most successful U.S. demographic — more highly educated, for example, and with higher median incomes than any other racial group. More significant, Asian Americans are 12% of the professional workforce while making up only 5.6% of the U.S. population. This fact underlies the potential blind spot for many companies: Because Asian Americans are not considered an underrepresented minority, they are given little priority or attention in diversity programs. We have found that in many companies throughout the country, Asian-related programs are geared toward cultural inclusion, not management diversity.

When we were tech executives in Silicon Valley, our corporate responsibility was to grow the business by building a highly skilled and motivated workforce through hiring, developing, and promoting the best talent. The large numbers of Asian Americans in the professional workforce confirm that businesses are finding qualified Asian Americans to hire; however, the disparity between the lower ranks and the executive levels suggests either that leadership potential is disproportionately lacking in Asian Americans or — much more likely — that companies have not done an adequate job of identifying and developing Asian American talent.

These issues aren’t confined to the tech industry. Similar concerns were raised about the legal profession in a 2017 study coauthored by Goodwin Liu, associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Published by the Yale Law School and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the report found that Asian Americans are well-represented in law — they’re more than 10% of the graduates of the top 30 law schools — yet “have the highest attrition rates and lowest ratio of partners to associates among all [racial] groups.”

A similar finding with New York banks was reported in Bloomberg Businessweek last year. As one example, Goldman Sachs reported that 27% of its U.S. professional workforce was Asian American, but only 11% of its U.S. executives and senior managers, and none of its executive officers, were.

The list of industries goes on. The Ascend Foundation, a pan-Asian organization that published our 2017 paper, was established by a group of pan-Asian accounting partners. They had found that while over 20% of the associates in many of the larger accounting firms were Asian American, very few were being promoted to the partner level.

And this is not just a problem in private industry: While Asian Americans were 9.8% of the federal professional workforce in 2016, they are only 4.4% of the workforce at the highest federal level.

Fortunately, some companies have found ways to close the gap.

Several years ago, one global energy company commissioned an internal task force to review the status of women and minorities in its leadership pipeline. Reporting to the executive staff, the task force found insufficient gender and racial diversity in the pipeline, including Asian diversity, and recommended specific actions. With strong CEO and executive support, the company quickly moved to identify potential leaders and significantly increase its spending for leadership training for women and minorities. For its Asian workforce, it partnered with a major business school to integrate culturally specific training into its leadership development program for Asian American managers.

This example provides the key steps that corporations can take to address the Asian glass ceiling.

First, it is necessary to be data-driven and to carefully review the retention and promotion rates of Asian Americans in an analysis of race and gender. Our research suggests that men and women of different races encounter progression barriers at different levels of the management ladder. Our anecdotal experience leads us to believe that it also varies across different parts of the organization (for example, engineering versus marketing versus sales), though we would need specific data to explore that idea.

Second, it is essential to have open, visible, and proactive support from the CEO and the executive team. Without open support, it is difficult to get organizations to shift priorities and budgets to fund and organize new programs. Just as important, without proactive support, institutional inertia can create procedural potholes that can derail new initiatives.

Finally, it is critical to institutionalize Asian American leadership as one of the goals and sustained priorities of the company’s leadership development process, not just as a one-time special diversity project.

These steps would make for a diversity and inclusion report we would love to read.


See original article here.

The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Asian Diversity.

 
Saturday July 28

‘Too Many Asian Americans’: Bill de Blasio Edition

New York City has some famous selective high schools, such as Stuyvesant and the Bronx Science, that determine admission solely by scores on the Specialized High School Admissions Test. The result is a politically incorrect mix of students at these schools — not many blacks and Latinos, some whites, and lots and lots of Asian Americans — and this makes Mayor Bill de Blasio sad. He wants, in particular, more black and Latino kids at these schools, and of course this means fewer of the others, particularly Asian Americans. And so he wants to get rid of that darn test.

Now, no selection system is perfect, and one can certainly argue that in theory it would be good to take other factors into account besides a student’s score on just one test, grades being the most obvious example.

But there are also many advantages to the current system that will be lost if it is changed: its simplicity, objectivity, and transparency. And those are great virtues indeed, especially when the government is divvying up a scarce resource that people — parents — feel very passionate about.  And just imagine the never-ending fights among groups and parents once the test is abandoned and a new system has to be fashioned and implemented. Well, actually, you don’t have to imagine it: The raw emotions are already out there for everyone to see.

The Left will not be happy until New York City follows Harvard and MIT and fully embraces some form of racial and ethnic preference in the name of “diversity,” and that means, again, that Asian Americans will get treated the worst, probably worse even than whites, all in the name of equality. See my organization’s recent study, “Too Many Asian Americans: Affirmative Discrimination in Elite College Admissions.”

Mayor de Blasio, in a recent essay, says he wants to replace the current test with a new process that will weigh the student’s middle-school rank and scores on statewide tests that the students are already taking. While it’s good that this wouldn’t involve direct consideration of race or ethnicity, it doesn’t sound like a perfect system either — being in the top 10 percent at one school is not the same as being in the top 10 percent at some other school, and why should the statewide tests be better than the specially designed one now being used?

What’s more, that’s just the opening bid, and once the current system is discarded it’s inevitable that there will be strong pressure to weigh race and ethnicity. What’s more, the mayor has made clear his motive: He doesn’t like, in the aggregate, the skin color and national origin of the current student body, and he is reverse-engineering his way to the racial and ethnic mix he prefers. That sort of motive violates federal civil-rights law and the Constitution.

So the mayor flunks, and the test should stay.


See original article here.

The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Asian Diversity.
 
Saturday July 28

This racial group has the biggest — and fastest-growing — income divide

Income inequality has risen steadily among all Americans since the 1970s. But the gap between rich and poor has grown the fastest — and is the widest — among Asians, who have displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial group in the United States.

The finding, in a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, paints a more complex economic portrait of Asian Americans than is often captured by snapshots showing Asians at the top of the income ladder.

While Asians as a whole rank as the country’s highest-earning group, economic gains for lower-income Asians between 1970 and 2016 trailed far behind those made by their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups, the report said.

“Asians are often depicted as the highest-achieving group in America, but it’s clear they are the most economically divided, with a significant share of Asian Americans lagging well behind lower-income whites,” said Rakesh Kochhar, a senior researcher at Pew.

Rising inequality among Asians, the country’s fastest-growing minority, can be largely explained by immigration patterns and the diverse reasons immigrants from an array of Asian countries settle in the United States, Kochhar said.

Immigrants, largely from China, India, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, accounted for 81 percent of the growth in the Asian adult population between 1970 and 2016. Nearly 80 percent of Asian adults in 2016 were foreign-born, compared with 45 percent in 1970.

Asian immigration surged after the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which favored family reunification. The end of the Vietnam War in 1975 brought a wave of refugees. One result, the report said, was that the share of new Asian immigrants working in higher-paid, high-skilled jobs dropped between 1970 and 1990.

A new wave of Asian immigrants came to the country after the 1990 Immigration Act that sought skilled workers during the tech boom. Many of the latest arrivals came from India, initially under the high-skilled H−1B visa program.

“Asian Americans come from a wide range of countries and cultures with different assimilation trajectories,” Kochhar said.

Three-quarters of Indian adults in the United States have at least a college degree, compared with less than a third of Vietnamese, less than a fifth of Laotians and Cambodians, and about half of Chinese, Pakistanis and Filipinos.

Median household income varies from $100,000 among Indians to $36,000 among Burmese. Poverty rates among Asians are as high as 35 percent among Burmese and 33 percent among Bhutanese.

Income distribution among Asians has gone from being one of the most equal in the United States to being the most unequal over the past five decades, the report said. During that time, the gap in the standard of living between Asians near the top and the bottom of the income ladder nearly doubled.

In 2016, Asians in the top 10 percent of income distribution earned nearly 10.7 times as much as Asians in the bottom 10 percent. In 1970, the wealthiest Asians earned 6.1 times as much as the poorest Asians.

Among all Americans in 2016, the wealthiest earned 8.7 times as much as the poorest — a steady but more moderate increase in the wealth gap from 1970, when the wealthiest Americans earned 6.9 times as much as the poorest.

The income of the highest-earning Asians — those in the top 10 percent — nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016 to $133,529, the most of any group. Asians in the bottom 10 percent increased their earnings by only 11 percent during this time to $12,478 — less than the earnings of lower-income whites, who made $15,094 in 2016.

But researchers do not expect the gaping income divide among Asians to last, because of changing immigration patterns.

“You will eventually end up with a more settled native-born Asian American population,” Kochhar said, “so the rapid rise in inequality in this population may be a transitory story.”


See original article here.

The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Asian Diversity.


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