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Affirmative Action Ruling - Talent Pipeline Implications - The Funnel



In a ruling on June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of the United States prohibited colleges from using race as a factor in admissions decisions. The case, Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard, was brought by a group of Asian American students who argued that Harvard's admissions process discriminated against them.


The Court's ruling was based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits the government from discriminating on the basis of race. The Court found that Harvard's admissions process violated the Equal Protection Clause because it used race as a "determinative factor" in admissions decisions.


The Court's ruling is a major setback for affirmative action, which has been used by colleges and universities to increase the diversity of their student bodies. The ruling is likely to have a ripple effect on other colleges and universities that use race as a factor in admissions decisions.


The ruling has been met with mixed reactions. Supporters of the ruling argue that it is a victory for colorblindness and that it will help to ensure that college admissions decisions are based on merit, not race. Opponents of the ruling argue that it will harm diversity in colleges and universities and that it will make it more difficult for minority students to gain admission to selective schools.


In diving deeper into the implications of creating a robust pipeline of talent, there is clearly a need to bring about equality of opportunities and representation across all levels in Corporate America - Corporates need to continue to take concerted action to reduce bias.


Population - Race and Ethnicity Representation


In 2021, the racial and ethnic composition of the US population was as follows:


College Students - Race and Ethnicity Representation


In a research published by Best Colleges in March 2023, around 40% of undergraduates are students of color.


White students made up nearly half the student population in 2018, but this figure has dropped to 42% as of 2022. Hispanic and Latino/a students were the second largest group in 2022 at 17.5% of the total undergraduate population. Black students made up roughly 11% of the student population; Asian students, 6%; and Native American students, less than 1%.


Frontline Hourly - Race and Ethnicity Representation


In a McKinsey Research it was noted that Frontline jobs largely do not connect Black employees with sufficient opportunities to advance and though they comprised of 19% (Hourly) and 13% (Salaried), the representation significantly dropped at the higher levels in the Corporate Ladder.


Three in five Black workers work in frontline jobs such as service workers, laborers, operatives, and office and clerical workers.




Entry Level - Race and Ethnicity Representation


Racial representation in corporate America entry level is a complex issue with no easy answers. However, there are some key findings that can help us understand the current state of affairs. Black employees make up 12% of entry-level employees in the U.S. private sector. This is proportionate to their representation in the overall population.


Mid | Senior | CEO | Board - Race and Ethnicity Representation


The representation of Mid | Senior Level | CEOs and boards of directors by race and ethnicity in the United States is still a work in progress. While there has been some progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go to achieve parity.










Tackling the Pipeline Issue - Creating the right funnel


As can be noted from the above statistics, there are a number of pipeline issues that would require a differently radical approach to ensure equal opportunity and BIPOC representation across all levels in Corporate America.

  1. Target Racially Diverse Colleges that produce outstanding students in different skills and disciplines at the entry level - HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Hispanic | LatinX represented Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities and similar.

  2. Hire vocationally trained workers having specialized skills to fulfill labor requirements - this will ensure that there is no bias and trained personnel get into the right skilled jobs in Corporate America.

  3. Enlist the help of a transparent talent management framework - that fosters a strong culture of fair promotions, mentoring, coaching and sponsorships - to ensure that BIPOC entry level talent get groomed to take on higher responsibilities and move up the Corporate ladder.

  4. Ensure Equal Pay Audits - to maintain equal pay for equal work done irrespective of race and ethnicity. Historical data has shown that BIPOC talent gets paid less for equal work. The recent Pay Transparency laws in some States is a step in the right direction.

  5. Advocate for policies that promote racial equity in the workplace.


It is clear that the agenda for moving the needle for equality, diversity and inclusion in Corporate America has to be pushed by progressive Corporations that clearly believe in the mission of fighting for equal rights and racial justice and promoting a strong culture of being an equal opportunity employer.

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