Study: Corporate America Made Good On Promises To Increase Diversity After BLM Protests

Still, most hiring happened for the lowest-paying jobs, as White people dominated the top corporate positions.

America’s corporate giants increased the number of people of color they hired –  as promised – in response to racial justice protests after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, according to a Bloomberg analysis.

Data for 88 S&P 100 companies showed they increased their U.S. workforce by 323,094 in 2021: composed of 20,524 White workers and 302,570 employees of color. That represents a 94 percent hiring increase for people of color compared to 2020 when the protests began.

The group of wealthy firms analyzed, including Apple, Walmart and Wells Fargo, employ more than 9 million workers in the United States. Bloomberg collected their employment data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from 2020 and 2021, the most recent year that data was available.

Bloomberg found that the share of workers of color increased in 2021 at 74 of the 88 companies, where Asian, Black and Hispanic people accounted for the vast majority of added workers. The number of those historically underrepresented workers declined slightly at 14 companies.

Job increases for people of color were highest at lower-paying, less-senior job categories, where Whites held fewer of those roles in 2021. But the companies also increased racial diversity at higher-paying executive and managerial jobs by about 2 percent compared to 2020. Perhaps unsurprisingly, White people still dominated job positions at the highest corporate levels.

Black workers made some notable gains. In nearly every firm, the number of Black employees increased in the managerial and professional categories, as well as the executive ranks. Despite the gains in 2021, White people still held a disproportionate share of high-paying jobs at the nation’s largest companies, and no EEOC data for 2022 is available to show the current trend.

Survey: Black Executives See Mixed Improvements In Corporate Diversity Since George Floyd's Death

A separate 2023 CNBC survey of Black executives shows mixed results in corporate America’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Black executives surveyed said they’ve seen positive changes in the hiring, retention and promotion of Black employees. On the other hand, 43 percent of them said the treatment of Black employees at their company has remained the same, and 9 percent said it has gotten worse. Half of those surveyed said Black employees still have fewer opportunities than other employees in their organization.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of Black executives said they are not equitably compensated compared to their peers. Nearly two-thirds said Black employees were underrepresented in upper management at their organization, and 20 percent said there were no Blacks in leadership. Only 10 percent said Black leadership is higher than it was in 2020.

The New York Times compiled a list of corporate promises after a viral video of White former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck while the helpless Black man was handcuffed and face down on the ground, telling officers at the scene that he could not breathe.

Facebook pledged in June 2020 to double the number of its Black and Hispanic employees by 2023 and to increase the number of Black employees in leadership positions by 30 percent over the next five years.

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