- Asian-Americans are the "most successful U.S. demographic," according to a Harvard Business Review (HBR) report, but that success isn't translating into senior management roles. According to a 2017 report by Ascend, a nonprofit, titled "The Illusion of Asian Success," Asian-Americans are the least likely racial group to be promoted into the leadership ranks, even in Silicon Valley, where they're most likely among all groups to be hired for tech jobs.
- Although Asian-Americans make up just 5.6% of the U.S. population, they comprise 12% of professional workers. HBR says some of the disparity might stem from Asian-Americans being classified as a non-underrepresented group in the workforce. Asian men are categorized with white males as "non-underrepresented" and Asian women are usually assigned to a vague category with women of all races, but neither are targeted for advancement into leadership posts.
- To reverse this trend, HBR recommends that HR leaders should include Asian-Americans in diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals, get CEO buy-in to secure D&I resources and be proactive about promoting members of the group into top leadership slots.
HR leaders must go beyond recruitment, hiring and inclusion and add advancement to the ranks of management as part of their organizations' D&I efforts. Inclusion is essential in keeping employees engaged and is also key to establishing innovation as a core tenant of the company, recent studies reveal. But to see real success, companies must make inclusion a key aspect of the company culture, rather than just a corporate policy.
Having a clear line to leadership positions is a strong way to retain talent, as well; transparency about the path to pay raises and new titles can go a long way in keeping people interested and engaged.
HR managers also must look closely at employee groups, including Asian-Americans, and track their progress across all aspects of their D&I programs. HBR advises organizations to be data-driven about advancing Asian-American workers. Data allows organizations to determine where their D&I efforts have been successful and where improvements must be made.