Racial Career Equity Could Take Almost a Century

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95 – That’s how many years it would take for Black workers to be just as represented in management roles as they are in the overall workforce, a new study estimates.

That’s how many years it would take, given the current trajectory of career advancement by race, for Black workers to be just as represented in management roles as they are in the overall workforce, a new study estimates.

While Black workers account for 12% of the 125 million people in the U.S. private sector, only 7% of managers in a McKinsey & Co. analysis were Black because of attrition at the entry level and “a broken rung” between entry-level and managerial jobs, the consulting firm said in a report released Sunday. At the current rates of promotion, attrition, and hiring, it would be nearly a century longer before 12% of managerial jobs were held by Black people, McKinsey said. 

What can be done? The U.S. could achieve what McKinsey called “talent parity” sooner—though it would still take 25 years—if companies addressed several major barriers to the advancement of Black employees. Obstacles include a geographic mismatch between where Black workers live and where job opportunities are, underrepresentation in higher-paying, fast-growing industries, and a lack of trust in their companies among Black employees.

McKinsey said its analysis drew on data from 24 participating companies across the country ranging in size from 10,000 to 1.4 million employees.