Earlier this week, Black Web 2.0 covered CB Insights’ report on the makeup of Internet companies that received their first round of funding in the the first half of this fiscal year. The news was not encouraging with only 1% percent of tech companies in the sample set had an all-black founding teams. When it came to funding, African-American founders were only awarded a median amount of $1.3 million compared $2.3 million for an all-white team. That information is further buoyed by the latest report from Capitol Hill.
Senator Robert Menendez recently released a report that summarizes a voluntary survey polling the top corporations in the country on their hiring practices regarding women and minorities. The report examined the number women and minorities in senior leadership positions or sitting on corporate boards. According to the report:
- In the five media/entertainment/marketing companies responding to the survey, 18.6% of board members were minorities and 22.0% were women; 5.2% of senior executives were minorities and 19.0% were women.
- In the 25 telecom/computer/business services companies responding to the survey, 13.3% of board members were minorities and 16.4% were women; 11.4% of senior executives were minorities and 22.0% were women.
The results are noticeably lower than expected especially when women make up more than 50% of the American population and minorities comprise more than 37%. It should also be noted that more than half of the 537 of the companies invited to participate in the survey sent meaningful responses. Missing out “on a learning experience and an opportunity to improve.
During his briefing, Senator Menendez mentioned recommendations that have long been supported by the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council (MMTC), including creating internal mentoring programs, building relationships with organizations that serve diverse communities, and expanding the search for qualified applicants beyond the usual Ivy league campuses.
Going forward, it can only strengthen these corporations to implement the recommendations that Menendez and the MMTC have put forth. The landscape of America is undergoing a drastic shift. Reports project that minorities will become the majority over the next 40 years. As an increasing number of minorities enter the fields of media, telecommunications, and technology, it is important that our unique perspectives be added to the ongoing conversation of change. “Recent studies show a direct, positive correlation between diversity at the top and corporate financial performance. Given the importance of these communities to corporate profits, it is imperative that these communities be represented at the decision?making table of these corporations.” In short, exclusionary practices affect everyone’s bottom line.