October 5, 2023

Corporate America Gave 94% Of New Jobs To POC After BLM – But Are Companies Now Backtracking?

Black Lives Matter

A recent analysis by Bloomberg News has revealed that people of color accounted for 94% of new hires at the US’ largest public companies in the year after the Black Lives Matter protests.

The proportion of managerial and executive roles held by people of color increased by about two percentage points – more than double the average increases in previous years.

However, white people remained overrepresented in the top, highly-paid positions.

A major shift

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires companies with 100 or more employees to report their workforce demographics yearly.

The data from Bloomberg showed an overall job growth of 323,092 people in 2021, the first year after the BLM protests.

Of these jobs, 20,524 went to white workers, and the other 302,570 (94%) went to people of color.

In 2021, Hispanic, Asian, and Black people made up a vast majority of the added workers – a trend that, analysts say, is necessary to overcome their historic underrepresentation.

The most significant shifts had happened in less-senior job categories, with over 100,000 Hispanic workers in sales, labor or service work.

Over 50,000 Black workers had these roles, and 18,000 white workers had them.

White people still hold a disproportionate share of the top, highly paid jobs in the US at S&P 100 companies, such as executives and professional roles. 

The trend did, however, continue in top, high-paid roles, too, with over 9,000 Hispanic workers in first and mid-level manager roles and over 7,000 Black workers.

The share of managers and professionals increased at 70 companies in the data set for Black workers, and they boosted their ranks among executives in nearly as many firms.

White workers made up over 8,000 of these roles.

The increase in these roles went up by two percentage points compared to 2020.

White people still hold a disproportionate share of the top, highly paid jobs in the US at S&P 100 companies, such as executives and professional roles. 

However, Bloomberg reported that in 2021, half the added executive-level jobs went to workers of color.

The companies in the data set include companies from tech to finance, including Apple Inc., Walmart Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co.

The latest findings show that organizations find a way to do it when pressured to hire and promote qualified, diverse talent.

“Even if it doesn’t move the needle much overall, it shows something happened. If it has a long-term impact, it remains to be seen,” said David Larcker, the director of the Corporate Governance Research Initative at Stanford University.

Is There A Long-Term Impact?

Many Big Tech companies, in particular, pledged to boost their diversity efforts following the BLM protests. However, many fear progress is being undone, with listings for DEI jobs falling by 19%.

Several tech giants also slashed the money they had put behind diversity and inclusion departments.

Musk’s Twitter layoffs were a prime example, as the social platform’s DEI team went from 30 to just two people.

“We’ve seen three years later how quickly DEI is becoming deprioritized,” said LaJoie-Lubin to Bloomberg.

“And now it’s like, “Oh well, the business isn’t doing well, so where are we going to cut resources and investments?” DEI and people teams.”

In July 2023, the media industry lost four Black diversity leaders with layoffs and resignations at Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Netflix, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.