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Understanding Why Blacks Are Still Failing To Get To The Top

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

So What’s Happening?

According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 none of us will see gender parity in our lifetime, and nor likely will many of our children.


The pandemic underscores the urgency for a more dynamic talent and work model to advance racial equity; but Black employees still remain overrepresented in lower paying frontline and junior entry level roles and underrepresented in senior managerial roles.


So What’s the Issue?

Advancing racial equity in the workplace is a system-level challenge. It ranges from the structural inequities; underrepresentation in key industries and occupations to name a few.


Black employees encounter representation gaps at each level and their 'lived experiences' confirm there is less opportunity for representation, advancement, and experience.


This broken rung and the creation of a higher-than-expected attrition rate in the pipeline, significantly limits representation at senior levels of the organisation and reduces the number of Black candidates available for promotion.


My Authentic Self

For those who are able to make it to the dizzy heights of senior management, there is a lingering trust deficit existing between Black employees and the organisation.


This has resulted in many Black employees opting to wear many 'masks' in the workplace. It starts before we walk through the door. We are the only people who have had black hair laws passed to stop hair discrimination, let alone all the other microaggressions we face.


So it’s not surprising, Black employees don’t want to waste time or energy with fear scenarios because they are already 'super' self-conscious and under greater pressure to assimilate. Consequently, it’s no surprise it’s easier to leave their authentic self outside 'the office'.


Leaders, you cannot build inclusive organisations when the perceptions of your workplace is less fair.


Black employees lack the sponsorship and allyship to support their advancement. Companies report that they have sponsorship programmes in place but many Black employees report they do not have a sponsor.


Believe it or not, most Black employees are ambitious and want to advance, but perceive a lack of support to help them ascend to senior management roles.


You Don’t Have To Be the Only One

Bias continues to be prevalent in most organisations so there is no harm in joining black networks, membership and associations for additional support.


Support can come from internal structures of external bodies. Try being part of the growing private groups where you can simply share what is happening to you, and find people who get it, and you!

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