Fewer black professionals getting crucial first-time promotions, report finds

Fewer black professionals getting crucial first-time promotions, report finds


Efforts to promote young black men and women to management positions slowed in 2022

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(Web Desk) - The May 2020 murder of George Floyd sparked a national conversation over racial equality and opportunity, and corporate America pushed to diversify professional talent in the aftermath.

But a new report finds American companies are reverting to old habits.

Many major U.S. companies — including Amazon, Meta and Microsoft — pledged to firmly grow the number of Black managers and senior leaders they employ.

And while many such corporations have made gains toward advancing Black talent at the highest levels of management, new data from McKinsey & Co. shows that first-time promotions are returning to 2019 levels.

Often, these first promotions from an entry-level role into a management job can set an individual up for future progression up the corporate ladder.

Consequently, missing out on these early opportunities can severely hinder a person's career, especially in competitive corporate landscapes.

McKinsey studied promotion rates from more than 270 companies that collectively employ more than 10 million people.

The consulting firm found that for every 100 men of all races elevated to their first management role in 2022, just 54 Black women were promoted; or about half the rate as all men.

But just a year prior, 96 Black women were promoted for every 100 men, nearly achieving a one-for-one ratio, according to the Journal.

McKinsey also said 66 Black men received their first promotion for every 100 men of any race who were pushed into their first management role in 2022, according to the Journal. In 2021, 72 Black men were promoted for every 100 men.

Comparatively, promotion rates for white men and women have remained relatively high and consistent between 2019 and 2022, the Journal reported.

“There is a really dramatic kind of pushback and retreat that I’ve seen in lots of places as it relates to the focus on Black men and Black women in the workforce," James D. White, the former Jamba CEO and current chairman of Honest Co., told the Journal.

He added that the data reflects what he's been told by Black professionals.

The data suggests a slowing commitment to diversity goals that companies once enacted; about 25% of companies have stopped making diversity a priority, according to the Journal.

Additionally, companies have been focused on recruiting more new employees instead of training and promoting their existing workforce, Paradigm CEO Joelle Emerson told the Journal.