The Illusion Of Asian Success

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Scant Progress for Minorities in Cracking the Glass Ceiling from 2007–2015

In a multi-year analysis of a 2007–2015 EEOC database of the San Francisco Bay Area workforce employed by technology companies, we find that there were no major shifts in upward mobility for racial minorities in climbing the management ladder to become executives. By 2015, despite being outnumbered by Asian men and women in the entry-level professional workforce, white men and women were twice as likely as Asians to become executives and held almost 3x the number of executive jobs. Black and Hispanic professionals were also much less likely than their white peers to become executives; and we find black and Hispanic representation in the professional workforce had actually declined.

In our earlier work, we examined Bay Area technology company data for single years 2013 and 2014 with a focus on whites and Asian Americans, and created the Executive Parity Index (EPI) as a key analytical tool. The EPI, defined as a ratio of the percentage representation of a company’s Executive workforce relative to that company’s percentage representation of its entry-level Professional workforce, is useful as a first-order metric that allows for meaningful analysis by race and gender, and enables relevant cross-company comparisons of leadership pipeline flows, irrespective of the size of the underlying headcount in different companies.

Through the use of publicly available aggregated EEOC data from 2007 to 2015, we are able to continue our EPI analysis to explore how the leadership pipeline from Professionals to Managers to Executives has trended over time.

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