November 7, 2023

New Report Reveals Progress In Advancing Racial Equity At Work And Areas For Improvement

Black Equity

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) published a report showing what has improved with their Black Equity at Work Certification Program and what still needs work.

Black Equity At Work Certification Program Analytics And Insights Report

For the last 20 years, MLT has supported employers in their journey toward racial equity by providing talent, recruitment, retention, and overall DEI strategy assistance.

MLT offers a premier pipeline of diverse talent, an Alumni network of more than 10,000 Black and Brown people, and serves as a trusted partner and advisor to employers across the country.

The MLT’s Black Equity at Work (BEW) Certification Program establishes a clear and comprehensive Black equity standard for employers.

The Certification, launched in October 2020, provides a roadmap, expert coaching, and the recognition necessary to enable and encourage employers across America to propel the Black equity solution.

The new report examines the impact of the MLT BEW Certification Program on the organizations that have joined to advance racial equity.

It describes the root causes driving racial disparities, the strategies organizations are deploying to drive progress, and the advancements they have made since committing to the program.

The report assessed how MLT BEW partners perform against five pillars of the Certification: representation, compensation, workplace culture, business practices, and contributions and investments.

What Did The Report Find?

The Certification has 74 organizations across 40 industries, including 21 Fortune 500 companies.

Of the current partners, 18 have earned BEW Certification, and 17 are already Plan Approved – meaning their plan to address racial equity meets the rigorous MLT BEW Certification standards.

One of the pillars MLT BEW focuses on is representation.

The report found partners have improved Black employee representation at most levels of their organizations despite historic challenges companies face when working to enhance Black representation.

Of the organizations involved, 35% had a plan to address gaps in representation and cited root causes related to insufficient transparency, focus, or accountability.

Representation has become a focal point for nearly all of the partners. 

The extra attention to these variables also enabled partners to make more progress in hiring and retaining Black talent.

Areas To Improve On

Although the partners have seen progress, they still have the most ground to make up regarding Black representation in senior management and the top quarter of earners.

In regards to spending significantly with Black-owned suppliers, for the partners, this remains a challenge.

41% of partners have at least some of the essential components of a comprehensive supplier diversity program. 

However, other partners have yet to form a focused supplier diversity program.

35% of the organizations still need reporting systems that enable them to track and report their spending with Black-owned suppliers.

Even for those organizations that report any spending with Black-owned suppliers, the median spend with Black-owned businesses is just 1% of their overall supplier expenditures.

Opportunities for Growth

The report highlights two areas that offer an opportunity for growth, which are creating a more anti-racist workplace and developing intentional strategies to contribute to nonprofits.

This aims to further Black equity and invest cash reserves in Black equity-focused financial institutions.

While around 44% of MLT BEW partners offer at least some form of anti-racism training, many find the root challenge of creating an inclusive environment to be a lack of understanding by non-Black employees.

“The data in this report allows us to better understand the progress our BEW partners have made since committing to the certification program, as well as the persistent challenges and opportunities for growth,” said MLT CEO and Founder John Rice.

“This report reflects our growing understanding of what measurable actions move the needle on Black equity, and these insights will allow employers to add more rigor to their DEI efforts based upon what works.”

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.