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The Senator & his big massive list of corporations electing to not fill out his corporate diversity survey

I made my way down to Capitol Hill yesterday to hear the lone Hispanic member of the Senate,  Senator Robert Menendez announce the results of a comprehensive report that summarizing  findings from a voluntary survey his office organized of the nation’s top corporations.  As I would expect,  the survey revealed far lower representation among minorities and women on corporate boards and in senior leadership positions than their levels of representation in America’s population (34% minorities and 50% women). Together, women and minorities represent 29% of corporate boards directors and 28% of top executives.
Hispanics have the worst representation in senior management, making up just over 3% of board members.
For my industry, the tech and communications industries, the Senator reported that:
  • 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.
To encourage participation in the survey, individual respondents’ data was not released. Nonetheless, more than half of the corporations surveyed did not provide a meaningful response or any response, including several media, telecom and broadband companies specifically identified in the report.
When I asked the good Senator if he had any intelligence as to the reasons 318 out of 537 companies elected NOT to participate, he said some told him flat out they didn’t feel they needed to. I would guess they were fearful that their numbers would not look good and did not trust that their numbers would not get leaked somehow.  Um,  BIG mistake.  I would take the risk of a leak revealing my company’s data was much like many of your fellow Fortune 500 and 100 companies than wind up on one of these two massive bulletin board!

To me, it seems to have been a missed opportunity. Even if the numbers were abysmal, at least they would get a chance to improve. The senator said his office has been actively working with companies towards initiatives and programs. He said that many of the companies indicated an interest in working towards asking positive changes.  He also said he did not understand how a company can make a decision about a specific market without the inclusion of persons that have unique perspective of that market because they come from it.
He said he did not and would not accept the excuse that there aren’t any qualified minorities. I, for one, know that is the truth! My social circle alone includes some of the most highly intelligent, educated and qualified minorities and many of whom are looking for senior employment.  They aren’t getting the leads and thus reports like these really ruffle my feathers!
Because the survey will be annual from now on, there remains opportunities for those who did not participate because the questions asked did not match how they collected data, will be able to alter their record-keeping and anticipate the changes.

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