A new study from the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and WICT suggests that hiring rates among women and people of color have now exceeded those among white people, though employee retention remains higher for the latter group.
The biennial NAMIC AIM/WICT PAR Diversity Survey measured progress of diversity and inclusion in the cable and communications industry. The results were shared at the 33rd Annual NAMIC Conference today (Sept. 17).
The survey was last conducted in 2017, and the most recent results reflect a comparison of the data collected in 2017 and that collected in 2019. Mercer administered the survey, which is funded by the Walter Kaitz Foundation.
Among participating companies, representation of people of color in the industry has increased at all levels, including at the board of directors (from 15.3% to 16.8%) and executive/senior managers levels (from 25.1% to 28.4%). The overall industry hire rate for people of color was also found to be 15.4 percentage points higher than for whites, at 36% vs. 20.6%.
Having said that, total turnover rate for people of color was clocked at 11.4 percentage points higher than for whites (32.7% vs. 21.3%), while overall promotion rate for people of color was lower than for whites (1.4% vs. 1.9%).
These results — which suggest that the number of people of color at the manager level and above is projected to remain flat at 32%, while the number of young professionals of color at the manager level and above is projected to decrease from 38% to 36% — led the authors of the study to conclude that an area of improvement would be increased promotion and retention of people of color within the workplace.
Survey results for women showed similar improvements. Representation of women was found to have increased at the board of directors (from 16.8% to 25.2%), executive/senior management (from 32.7% to 34.9%), and professional levels (from 35.6% to 36.8%). The hire rate for women also similarly was 9.1 percentage points higher than for men, at 33.2% vs. 24.1%.
Retention proved to be an issue with women employees too, though. The total turnover rate for women was 7.3 percentage points higher than for men (30.8% vs. 23.5%), though the overall promotion rate was higher, at 1.8% for women vs. 1.6% for men.
Retention of women at the same rates as their male counterparts was found to be an area for improvement across the industry.
“It’s encouraging to see that people of color are making advancements in the industry,” said NAMIC president and CEO A. Shuanise Washington (pictured) in a statement. “But clearly more needs to be done, particularly in the area of retaining and promoting people of color. Companies need to shift from focusing solely on diversity to also focusing on inclusion. That’s where you are going to start to see real progress because diversity without inclusion is not effective in the long term.”
“Knowing where women and people of color stand is step-one in ensuring progress,” added WICT president and CEO Maria E. Brennan. “As the survey results show, for women, closing the gaps in hiring and employee retention are central to achieving parity with men. Like our partners at NAMIC and The Walter Kaitz Foundation, we will use this data to help companies strengthen their practices and policies to improve recruitment and retention of women within their workforce.”