It’s no secret that Black people constantly face systemic racism in the workplace. The history of Black people at work and in life is one of resilience, so it’s no surprise that so many of us continue to take this in stride, all the while, working twice as hard for half as much.
Though these issues should come as no surprise, LinkedIn has released new data that sheds light on the challenges Black professionals face in the workplace, including the prevalence of discrimination, being overlooked for advancement, the importance of mentorship, and the actions companies must take to advance the careers of Black professionals. The results of the study are shameful yet staggering, with nearly half (46%) of Black professionals ages 18-34 having faced blatant discrimination and/or microaggressions at work.
“LinkedIn’s new research helps shine a light on the challenges and experiences of Black professionals in the workplace,” says Rosanna Durruthy, Global VP of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at LinkedIn. “As business leaders, it’s our responsibility to be inclusive by providing support, empowering talent, and ensuring all professionals, especially those from underrepresented communities, have access to resources and tools that enable career advancement. At LinkedIn, we seek to understand the role we can play in uplifting Black professionals to thrive in their careers.”
In all of Linkedin’s research we see the same general pattern: in so many different ways, Black people have a harder and worse experience at work than almost everyone else. The numbers speak for themselves: One-third (34%) feel they’ve been overlooked or intentionally passed by for career advancement opportunities because of their race; 81% of Black professionals say it’s important to see other Black professionals in positions of leadership; 25% feel they may face retaliation for speaking up about racial justice issues or topics around diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. Not to mention, we’re overrepresented in minimum-wage jobs, hired and promoted more slowly and we’re paid less than other racial groups.
To help change the narrative around these issues, LinkedIn is launching a Black History Month series titled, Conversations for Change, a series of discussions on important topics at the intersection of life and work. In addition to ongoing coverage on this critical topic, LinkedIn News will be focused on the career paths of Black professionals, with Tyler Perry will serve as Guest Editor for the program, curating a week of programming across LinkedIn News and appearing on LinkedIn for an in-depth discussion on race and equity with award-winning journalist Gayle King.
The purpose of this campaign is to highlight the career journeys and barriers to success of Black professionals to spark discussion and community empowerment. Highlights include inspiring stories from leaders in the community, including Dr. Bernice King, Carla Harris, Candace Parker, and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
The barriers Black people face aren’t limited to the workplace, but hopefully these conversations will enact actual change — across LinkedIn and beyond.