NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
New data released by five large Silicon Valley companies — Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LinkedIn, and Yahoo — show that while Asian men and women made up the largest number of professional non-white workers, they were the least likely to be promoted to managerial or executive roles.
During the past year, Silicon Valley technology companies have put extra emphasis on a more diverse workforce, and several have shown increased transparency by disclosing previously confidential 2013 data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Asians held 47 percent of professional jobs in 2015, slightly more than whites. But at top levels, Asians were far outnumbered, holding 25 percent of executive positions, compared with nearly 70 percent held by whites.
That’s contrary to the belief that Asians are benefiting from Silicon Valley tech companies, with high profile executives like Sundar Pichai at Google and Satya Nadella at Microsoft.
“The widely-held notion of Asian executive success is largely an illusion,” the recent report by Ascend Leadership, an Asian professional network, said.
“When we used the Executive Parity Index to compare the numbers of minorities as executives to their numbers in the workforce, it was clear that efforts to promote more Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics have made no meaningful impact to the minority glass ceiling,” said Buck Gee, a former vice president and general manager at Cisco Systems who is an Ascend executive advisor and a study co-author.
Using the EEOC definition, “Asian” includes any citizen or noncitizen having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent.
While white women have started to move into management and executive roles, the gap isn’t shrinking for minority women.
“Minority women continue to bump against a double-paned glass ceiling,” noted study co-author and Ascend executive advisor Denise Peck.
“This has been an unspoken truth in the minority community, and we hope that our report opens a long overdue dialogue. We encourage all companies to take a hard look at their minority pipeline and ask how they can do better.”
“We saw progress made by white women, so we know tech companies can change,” said Gee. “Now it’s time to do the same for minority men and women.”