New York, NY (PRWEB) October 16, 2012
At a time when the top office in the country – President of the United States – is held by a person of color, minorities remain grossly underrepresented within leadership positions in corporate America. Although minorities make up more than a third of the country’s population, they hold only 13 percent of board seats at Fortune 500 companies and only twenty people of color currently hold chief executive positions at those Fortune 500 companies. The fact is, minorities in the workplace often face tripwires such as lingering bias and entrenched ideals of white male leadership which cause them to stall out in middle management. A new study from the Center for Talent Innovation (formerly the Center for Work-Life Policy) identifies a cause and proposes a solution – sponsorship. The findings from the study entitled “Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals into Leadership” were announced last night at Bank of America headquarters in New York City.
According to the new CTI study there is a clear way to the top. Talent of color need robust relationship capital and powerful advocacy to propel them up the ladder: they need sponsors. Sponsors provide powerful links to key stakeholders and put their reputations on the line to promote their protégés all the way to the top. The study finds that sponsorship is particularly crucial amongst people of color as it significantly boosts advancement, ambition and retention.
Vaulting the Color Bar includes case studies from eleven global companies that have led the way, creating initiatives that provide people of color with pathways to sponsorship. In particular, these initiatives focus on:
Patricia Fili- Krushel, Chairman of NBCUniversal News Group and one of the lead underwriters of the study, spoke at the launch event yesterday and said, “we are proud that our NBC News Leadership Program directly incorporates sponsorship to prepare a new group of diverse leaders to rise through the ranks to the executive leadership level.”
A key takeaway of this study is a Road Map which lays out how multicultural talent can earn sponsorship. It lays out in concrete detail how a high potential person of color can make this happen for him or herself. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, co-author of the study and CEO and President of CTI says “With this Road Map, both sponsors and protégés will better understand their interconnected roles so they can work together to literally change the face of corporate leadership.”
In an increasingly global and diverse world, no company can afford to ignore the talent pool of highly qualified people of color. A shortage of minority talent in the C-Suite means that consumers aren’t benefiting from innovations and products tailored to their needs. Companies must to tap into this rich talent pool or risk losing traction in new multicultural markets at home and abroad.
The research consists of focus groups, Insights in Depth sessions (a proprietary web-based tool used to conduct highly facilitated online focus groups), one-on-one interviews and a representative survey of U.S. college-educated employees (March 2012 with 3,929 respondents) conducted by Knowledge Networks under the auspices of the Center for Talent Innovation.
American Express, Bank of America, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Deloitte, Intel, Morgan Stanley, and NBCUniversal
About the Authors:
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Founding President and CEO of CTI
Maggie Jackson, Vice President and Senior Fellow at CTI
Ellis Cose, Senior Fellow at CTI
Courtney Emerson, Research Associate at CTI
The Center for Talent Innovation
The Center for Talent Innovation (formerly the Center for Work-Life Policy), a non-profit “think tank” based in New York City, has emerged as a thought leader in diversity and talent management, driving ground-breaking research and seeding programs and practices that attract, retain and accelerate the new streams of talent around the world.
The Center for Talent Innovation’s flagship project is the Task Force for Talent Innovation (formerly the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force)—a private-sector task force focused on helping organizations leverage their talent across the divides of gender, generation, geography and culture. The 75 global corporations and organizations that constitute the Task Force—representing 4 million employees and operating in 190 countries around the world—are united by an understanding that the full utilization of the talent pool is at the heart of competitive advantage and economic success.