If you’ve not had a chance to read through Fast Company’s Strong Female Leader series, I’d encourage you to do so. Gender equity topics regarding leadership, pay, and entrepreneurship paint a picture of how much more work is still needed in the corporate world.
A recent addition examines the gender pay gap by industry. Consider the following statement and then review the graphic below.
There is no industry where women earn equal to or than men overall, even when controlling for all measured compensable factors.
Human resources has traditionally been viewed as the talent gatekeeper for an organization. HR practitioners therefore play a significant role in developing, nurturing, and communicating a culture of inclusion. Furthermore, most HR professionals appreciate that organizations are no longer composed of a homogeneous workforce. So it was with great interest that this tweet by Tanya Odom regarding Elevate 2015, a virtual HR conference aimed to “inspire HR and other business professionals,” caught my eye.
The Elevate 2015 web site touts a roster of “industry leading experts and visionaries,” famous authors, HR thought leaders, and leading business executives who promise to provide attendees the tools they need to “free themselves and their people to do their best work.” Unfortunately, of the 62 industry leaders and visionaries, only three seem to be people of color. Moreover, in reviewing the event’s agenda, diversity and inclusion doesn’t seem to be considered a “new idea” or “effective trend” within the themes of Growing People, Seismic Shifts in HR, Talent, Leadership, and Culture.
Fifty-six HR topics – not one included the importance of diversity and inclusion.
When Tanya’s tweet began to gain some traction on Twitter, this was HR.com’s reply:
As Tanya noted – a “1990’s” response. Indeed, this organization should know better.
With increased globalization and multicultural workforces, a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is a core HR responsibility. Professional HR organizations such as HR.com and Elevate 2015 sponsors need to do better, especially since they influence those who are responsible for finding, developing, and retaining corporate talent. If professional HR organizations are truly committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, there needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift regarding diversity from those who lead them.
Perhaps HR.com and the organizers of Elevate 2015 can learn a lesson from Canada’s new Prime Minister?
A question asked by Zach Stafford based on his experiences with those who say they forget “he’s black” — and somehow mean it as a compliment. He takes them to task:
When I point out that their eyesight had never left them, that my skin has never changed colors, and that they probably did not really forget that I am black, they inevitably get defensive. First, they try to argue that it was a compliment; the smart ones quickly realize that complimenting someone on not being black is actually pretty racist, so they switch gears.
I don’t see race! is usually their next tactic, followed by I am colorblind, though they never give credit to Stephen Colbert. By “colorblind” they don’t actually mean that they can’t see green or red; rather, they are suggesting that they can’t ever be racist, because they don’t register skin color at all.
This ideology is very popular – like a racial utopic version of the Golden Rule – but it’s actually quite racist. “Colorblindness” doesn’t acknowledge the very real ways in which racism has existed and continues to exist, both in individuals and systemically. By professing not to see race, you’re just ignoring racism, not solving it.
Latinos, women, and other people of color still earn less than white men, even with similar education levels.
Among workers age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, median weekly earnings in 2014 were $1,385 for men and $1,049 for women. Black or African American workers with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $970 in 2014, compared with $1,219 for White workers with the same level of education. Asians with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,328. The median for Hispanic or Latino workers with that level of education was $1,007 per week.
Excelencia in Education celebrates 10 years of providing critical data on the progress of Latinos from kindergarten to the workforce. The Condition of Latinos in Education 2015 shows progress, but Latinos are still very much on the lower end of most the items examined in the report.
A Partnership for a New American Economy report highlights the economic punch both native and foreign-born Latinos provide, particularly in states like California and Texas:
In some states, Hispanics now account for a large percentage of spending power and tax revenues overall. In both Texas and California, Hispanic households had more than $100 billion in after-tax income in 2013, accounting for more than one of every five dollars available to spend in each state that year. In Arizona, a state with a rapidly growing Hispanic population, their earnings after taxes accounted for almost one-sixth of the spending power in the state. In Florida, Hispanics contributed more than one out of every six dollars in tax revenue paid by residents of the state.
The data also shows how Latino tax revenues put more into Medicare and Social Security programs than they take out:
Hispanics, and foreign-born Hispanics in particular, play an important role sustaining America’s Medicare and Social Security programs. In 2013, Hispanic households contributed more than $98 billion to Social Security and almost $23 billion to the Medicare’s core trust fund. Foreign-born Hispanics in particular contributed more than $46 billion to Social Security, while paying in more than $10 billion to the Medicare program. Past studies have indicated that in Medicare in particular, immigrants draw down far less than they put in to the trust fund each year, making such tax contributions particularly valuable.
With the growth, Latinos represent more purchasing power and are becoming the “backbone” of the economy in the United States while more and more enter the middle and upper classes, Cartagena said. One in six consumers in the country are already Hispanic and, since 2000, the percent of the Latino population making over $100,000 a year has doubled from 7 to 13 percent.
The full New American Economy report can be found here.
Emily Badger shares some interesting demographic changes in the next 15 years and advice on what these numbers might mean:
Projected Latino Population Change 2010-2030. Graphic via WonkBlog.com
By 2030, the Hispanic share of the local population is likely to increase almost everywhere in the U.S…..metro Atlanta’s Hispanic population grows by about 800,000 over 20 years, in Dallas by 700,000, in Charlotte by about 400,000.
The future envisioned in all of these maps means that many communities will have to confront greater diversity in their neighborhoods, among their electorates, in their schools.
“It opens up a lot of really important questions about how we educate kids in the U.S.” Pendall says. Many of the areas with growing minority populations also have high poverty rates in their public schools. “If those states and cities aren’t able to come up with the political and fiscal will to educate kids well — whether because they’re poor, because they’re African American or Latino, both or either one — that to me is one of the most important implications of the whole picture that we’re portraying.”
Two different but sometimes intersecting viewpoints about diversity and strategy.
Jonathan Jackson argues that the lack of diversity in organizations is systemic and considers race, gender, and culture a vital factor:
People talk at me when it comes to diversity, not to me, and certainly not for me. People want to solve diversity like it’s a business problem. It’s not. Diversity (read: the need for Black and Latino creativity, excellence, and ingenuity to be fundamentally embedded into the DNA of billion dollar companies and enterprises) has business implications, and there is a case for how it can improve outcomes, revenue, idea generation, and a host of other metrics. But at its core, the issue of diversity is a structural one. Systemic inequity has a legacy that is long, varied, and intertwined with a multitude of other issues that ‘Murica is wrestling with. It’s an autopsy in its purest form, and everyone is in the viewing room, peering down through their own vantage point, looking to make sense of the broken bones and exposed organs.