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Fortune 500 Lacking Women, Minorities, According to New Study

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Special to the NNPA from the Louisiana Weekly –

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chair man of the Senate Democratic Task Force and the lone Hispanic Senator, today unveiled the results of his survey on women and minority representation among the senior management of Fortune 500 companies, as well as their use of minority and women-owned businesses in the contracting and procurement process.

The survey found that women and minority representation on corporate boards continues to lag far behind the national population percentages. Menendez’s survey was one of the most successful of its kind, garnering input from 219 corporations on the Fortune 500 list and 71 on the Fortune 100 list.

The study found minorities to represent a total of 14.5 percent of directors on corporate boards and overall have less representation on executive teams than they do on corporate boards.

Hispanics are least proportionately represented on boards and fared even worse on executive teams. They comprise 3.28 percent of board members and and 2.90 percent on executive teams, about one-fifth of the 15 percent they represent in the U.S. population. Among minority groups, African-Americans have the highest representation on boards compared to their population, but saw greatest decline in representation from boards to executive management teams, from 8.77 percent to 4.23 percent. Women on the other hand fared better on executive teams than on corporate boards, with 18.04 percent and 19.87 percent of representation respectively, but these figures still represent less than one-half of their proportion of the national population.

Senator Menendez and others also offered concrete recommendations, including the creation of a task force with select corporations, executive search firms, board members, and other experts to help companies move in this direction.

“As Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, one of my top priorities has always been promoting and expanding diversity at all levels of our economic, political and social sectors, and the basic understanding that has resulted from this survey will help guide us in doing so,” said Senator Menendez. “This report clearly confirms what we had suspected all along – that American corporations need to do better when it comes to having the board rooms on Wall Street reflect the reality on Main Street. We need to change the dynamic and make it commonplace for minorities to be part of the American corporate structure. It is not just about doing what’s right, but it’s a good business decision that will benefit both corporations and the communities they’re tapping into and making investments in. That’s why I’m offering my recommendations and to work one-on-one with companies who want to move those numbers and company executives who want to make a difference in the community.”

This survey is one of the largest studies of women and minority diversity among corporate leadership with one of the highest response rates. A total of 219 Fortune 500 companies participated, including 71 Fortune 100 companies, making this one of the largest surveys on women and minority representation in corporate leadership ever. It requested the following information from corporations: 1) whether or not they have written diversity plans with targets, 2) data on diversity at the Board and executive management level, and 3) information on supplier diversity.

Most important findings of the survey and recommendations based on this data:

Diversity on Corporate Boards

• Women represent 18.04 percent of directors; 1 out of every 5 board members is female. The proportional representation of women on Boards is less than one-half of their proportion to the overall U.S. population.

• Minorities represent 14.45 percent of Directors; 1 out of every 7 Board members is a minority. Minorities represent less than half of the 35 percent of the population they comprise overall in this country.

• Blacks/African-Americans have the highest representation at 8.77 percent compared to their population, reporting a Board ratio of about 69 percent.

• Hispanics have one of the poorest representations on Boards. They comprise about 3.28 percent of Board members, one-fifth of the 15 percent they represent in the U.S. population. Native-Americans made up about .04 percent of Board members, approximately 5 percent of their actual population.

Diversity on Executive Teams (CEO and direct reports)

• Women represent 19.87 percent of Directors; 1 out of every 5 Board members is female. Although women fared slightly better on executive teams than on corporate Boards, they still represent less than one-half of their population.

• Minorities overall have less representation on executive teams than they do on corporate Boards, representing 10.44 percent of executive managers, compared to 30 percent of their actual proportion to the U.S. population.

• Blacks/African-Americans saw the greatest decline in representation from Boards to executive management teams, 8.77 percent to 4.23 percent. In fact, they went from about one out of every 11 Board members to one out of every 24 executive team members. When compared to population statistics, Blacks/African Americans on executive boards represented only about one-third of their U.S. population.

• Hispanics/Latinos fare worse on executive teams versus corporate Boards at 2.90 percent, Asians and Native-Americans do slightly better at 2.55 percent and .25 percent respectively.

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