Is There a Disconnect Between Minorities With Advanced Degrees and Employment?

The Federal Reserve has struggled to make their upper management more diverse.

Posted: 04/06/2012 02:30 PM EDT

A new report by the Federal Reserve’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion shows the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors has struggled to make their upper management more diverse.

In a report released to Congress on Monday, the information reveals most executive level employees are white men. Only 10 percent are African-American, and two percent are Hispanic.

The report is the first annual assessment from the diversity office, established in January 2011 under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

"Despite some progress, the board continues to have low minority representation in the economist job family," the report stated. "The board hires a large number of Ph.D. economists and the availability of minority candidates for these positions is low."

The low availability of minority candidates is suggested by the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates. According to the foundation's  2010 survey, 48,069 doctorate degrees awarded were awarded in 2010, of those, only 2,487 were to Blacks.

Perhaps there is a disconnect between all minorities with advanced degrees and securing employment.

Although 23.5 percent of Asian-Americans hold advanced degrees, 3.7 percent of them are unemployed. Data shows 6.5 percent of doctoral degree holders are African-American, but Blacks with at least a Bachelor’s degree have an unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, compared to 3.9 percent of whites.  

If the unemployment gap is closed, diversity in the workplace can offer many benefits.

“Diversity is beneficial to both associates and employers,” reads a report on managerial tools conducted by the University of Florida. “Diversity in the workplace can reduce lawsuits and increase marketing opportunities, recruitment, creativity, and business image.”

In an effort to recruit more minority executives, the board says it will continue to contract with companies owned by women and minorities. If that hasn’t worked to increase numbers to a desirable level, however, hosting a diversity open-house may also be considered.

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(Photo: Ron C. Angle/Getty Images)

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