Chicago United Survey Shows Impact of Recent Recession on Diversity and Inclusion

November 16, 2010. Chicago United and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago teamed up to survey Chicago area largest corporations in order to measure companies’ intent to advance diversity and inclusion strategies and the impact of racial diversity and inclusion as it relates to retention policies. This was the sixth edition of the Corporate Diversity Profile, which is the survey utilized in the study.  Results showed although Chicago area corporations indicate a consistent commitment to diversity and inclusion, the recession had a negative impact on the corporations’ historical trends.

Key findings include:

  • The employment gap remains consistent, recession or no recession.  African-Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites, irrespective of education levels.  This shows evidence of the need for greater focus on more inclusive, culturally competent organizations to take full advantage of all human capital.
  • Despite a renewed focus on governance and increasing evidence that the highest performing corporations are those with diverse boards, virtually no progress is reported in board diversity.  The strengthened regulatory environment, requiring transparency of diversity policies related to board nominees has not yet taken effect.
  • The recession analysis highlighted the ebbs and flow of minority hiring and retention. Increased employment opportunities for minorities during economic expansion are followed by steep job losses during contractions as indicated by the foregone employment statistics.  This is an opportunity for corporations to better evaluate and retain talent across demographics.

The Profile’s also examined the impact of recession on the racial minority communities, which drew the conclusion that these groups have been impacted across different levels of home and work life.

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