We Fight For Employee Rights

Do ethnic minorities experience a glass ceiling?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2023 | Employment Law, Workplace Discrimination

For ethnic minorities in Rhode Island, leadership positions at work may come with barriers to entry. Despite progress toward inclusion and diversity, many workplaces still have a glass ceiling for ethnic minorities and struggle to prevent discrimination from affecting hiring for leadership roles.

These challenges make it difficult for ethnic minorities to advance in their careers and ultimately obtain top leadership positions. They also prevent companies from hiring the best-qualified employees while relegating ethnic minorities to jobs below their capabilities.

Ethnic minority challenges

Recent research on hiring for leadership roles has shown that people with ethnic-sounding names could face unconscious bias during the hiring process for company leadership jobs. They may also experience lower levels of trust from their work colleagues.

According to the research study, which included evidence from more than 12,000 job applications, individuals with English names received almost 30% of positive responses for their job applications. In contrast, ethnic minorities received just over 11% of favorable responses.

Discrimination based on duties

The same research showed that individuals with ethnic names were discriminated against more often when applying for jobs that required customer contact. This type of result can suggest that recruiters perceive people with English names as more likely to fit the prototype of a leader while also implying that customers expect to deal with leaders who fit the prototypical English-named leader.

This type of discrimination can undermine the social cohesion of different ethnic groups and violates laws regarding anti-discrimination in the workplace. It also stunts progress toward equal opportunity principles.

Testing for other factors

The research study tested for other factors affected by ethnic minority discrimination in recruiting leaders. It found that positive responses to applicants were not affected by the individual’s gender or job skills required by the role, including innovation, creativity and learning.

Based on this information and other details, the study concluded that strong evidence existed that hiring discrimination was due to the person’s name, not because of language, local experience or visa issues.

Tackling the issue

Training recruiters can reduce discriminatory hiring practices and help make them aware of possible stereotypes. Organizations can create more fairness in hiring by using anonymous job applications, where the applicant’s name remains hidden until later in the recruitment process.

Companies can also develop leadership development programs to train and promote ethnic minorities and implement practices to manage diversity and inclusion to support recruiting and promote ethnic minorities for non-leader and leader roles.

Revamping the recruitment process and training recruiting personnel can create a more inclusive hiring process and increase the number of ethnic minorities in business leadership positions.