At PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, senior partners regularly pair up with women of color who are managers or directors and begin grooming them for more responsibility. The partners act as mentors, provide coaching, introduce the women to a broader network of business associates, give them high-profile assignments and provide feedback on their job performance.
The mentoring was among the reasons Working Mother magazine this month chose the New York-based consulting firm as one of this year’s “Best Companies for Multicultural Women.”
“Typically, companies don’t invest in executive coaching until you’re much more senior,” said Jennifer W. Allyn, managing director in PwC’s Office of Diversity. The mentoring program is designed “to help advance these women’s careers and to make sure they continue to succeed. Research indicates a lot of these women don’t get candid feedback from higher-ups.” Twenty-four other companies made the magazine’s list, which the editors compiled after reviewing submissions from firms with at least 500 U.S. employees. This is the 11th year the publication has recognized firms “that create and use best practices in hiring, retaining and promoting women of color,” according to aWorking Mother press release. To compile the list, the magazine’s Research Institute analyzed candidate responses on multicultural women’s representation in the company, in attrition, in promotion rates, in recruitment and retention, and in advancement programs.
“We look at diversity education, participation rates at each job level, things connected to wage gaps or discrimination, and what they’re doing to support diversity,” explained Jennifer Owens, the institute’s editorial director.
The institute found that among the companies on the list, in 2013 women of color accounted, on average, for 15 percent of all promotions to manager or above—up from 13 percent in 2011. On average, 42 percent of all employees of the chosen firms participated in gender diversity education in 2013, up from 23 percent in 2012.
Finally, the institute discovered that among the listed firms, white women were leaving manager, senior manager and corporate executive jobs at higher rates than they were hired into those positions. But women of color were being hired into these jobs at the same rate at which they left them. Among employees who reported directly to the CEO at the companies the magazine selected, 23 percent were white women and 5 percent were women of color. In 2012, 4 percent were multicultural women.
According to Working Mother, the top five companies for multicultural women are Deloitte LLP, General Mills, KPMG LLP, PwC and State Farm Insurance.
At the New York Times Co., which also made the list, women of color have made up at least 9 percent of the company’s total 5,000-plus employees since 2010, said Desiree Dancy, the company’s chief diversity officer and vice president of corporate human resources.
New employees, she said, are encouraged to join one or more affinity groups that represent workers of the same ethnicity or gender.
“Whether you’ve been there for two days or 20 days, in affinity groups, people learn about our business, learn about the newsroom, learn about working in a changing industry,” Dancy said. The groups allow workers to “really learn in a safe environment, a nonjudgmental environment, where people can be authentic,” she added.
Recruiters at New York-based Deloitte LLP start wooing future employees—especially women of color who may be underrepresented in some industries—during their early years of college. The firm hosts open houses for freshmen and sophomores, as well as juniors and seniors. Students attend conferences where they hear from Deloitte leaders, who describe the company’s work culture. And this March the firm also opened its Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, whose mission is to “redefine inclusion in the 21st-century workplace.” Female senior managers can enroll in programs that allow them to present new ideas to the CEO, get executive coaching and shadow a senior leader at Deloitte.
“Some of these women may need help connecting with the right people in a particular industry,” said Diane Borhani, leader of national campus recruiting for Deloitte. “Others may need technical expertise to accelerate their careers. Some may need help figuring out work-life balance.”
Borhani said the company also offers flexible work schedules, which appeal to many multicultural women.
“We listened to our employees,” she said. “Flexibility for women minorities has become extremely important. I was always told here that you’re expected to get your job done, but where and how you do it is your business.”
Dana Wilkie is an online discipline manager/editor for SHRM. To read the original article on SHRM.org, please click here.