Monday, September 29, 2008
5996: Diversity Blows In The Windy City.
From The Chicago Sun-Times…
Minorities make few gains in top corporate positions here since ‘05: report
By Francine Knowles
Little progress has been made in increasing the ranks of minorities in the top leadership positions at Chicago’s biggest companies, according to a biennial report from Chicago United. If strategic changes aren’t made, it could take another 89 years before minorities achieve parity, the report said.
“Such slow progress would be unacceptable in any other area of business,” said Chicago United President Gloria Castillo. “Diversity and inclusion, key business imperatives … should be no different.”
The report found minorities held 13 percent of board positions in 2007 at 21 large Chicago area companies, unchanged from 2005. Among chairmen and chief executive officers, minorities held 14 percent of those positions last year, down from 15 percent.
The report found increases at the vice president level and stronger representation among director and senior managers, improving the pipeline.
To speed progress, more companies need to link diversity to compensation at the highest levels of the company and beyond, Castillo said.
“You need to also engage middle management through training, tools and scorecards, so that diversity goals are achieved throughout the organization,” she said.
Companies need to focus on recruitment and retention, she said. She noted the turnover for minority executives is 5 percent higher than it is for non-minority executives. To retain top minority talent, companies need to develop retention programs that identify top talent and place them in rotational assignments that show them a clear career path and also build strength across the organization, Castillo said.
“If you know that you’ve been identified as someone who is in line for critical rotational assignments, you understand that your career has real potential within an organization” and are more likely to stay with that company, she said.
The business case for diversity includes greater business opportunity and global competitiveness, Chicago United said. It cited a Hedrick & Struggles report that looked at the 20 Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentage of blacks on their boards. Fourteen outperformed the S&P 500 over the last five years, the report said.