CHICAGO, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago United today reported mixed
progress in the local business sector's efforts to achieve greater racial
diversity in corporate leadership ranks as it released the findings of its
2008 Corporate Diversity Profile.
According to the Corporate Diversity Profile -- a bi-annual survey that
measures racial diversity specifically in the leadership ranks of large
corporations, on corporate boards and in executive level management -- the
population of senior executives of color in Chicago's corporate community
is comparable to that of the nation's top cities.
Yet, even with a focus on corporate diversity over the past 30 years,
progress is startlingly slow, survey results found. If the growth rate of
minority representation in the corporate leadership ranks maintained its
2000-2004 pace, when it increased by 1.1 percent annually, then it would
take 89 years for minorities to achieve equal representation in
executive/managerial ranks compared to workforce representation -- despite
the fact that people of color comprise the majority of Chicago's population
-- according to Chicago United.
"Our newest Corporate Diversity Profile found that Chicago's corporate
sector does not boast enough about its accomplishments, but,
simultaneously, it's making terribly slow progress in growing more
executives of color," said Gloria Castillo, president of Chicago United.
"Such slow progress would be unacceptable in any other area of business.
Product development or new service offerings would not be considered
successful without meeting critical timelines. Diversity and inclusion, key
business imperatives that the best-performing companies optimize, should be
Among the key findings of the Profile:
-- The number of minority directors has not increased since the 2006
Profile, even though the total number of board director seats increased to
330 in 2007 from 320 in 2005. In 2005, 88% of local board directors were
white, and 87% were white in 2007. In 2005 and 2007, 13% of local board
directors were of color. (Percentage totals may not equal 100% due to
-- There has been no increase in minority representation at the CEO
level, though two new CEOs have joined the local ranks. In 2005, about 85%
of all CEOs where white compared to 86% in 2007, according to the Profile.
In 2005, 15% of all CEOs were people of color and 14% were of color in
-- The good news is that there is some improvement in the "pipeline."
There was a slight increase in minority representation at the vice
president level from 2005-2007, and there is stronger representation at the
director and senior manager levels.
The fifth edition of the Profile surveyed 21 large companies. Eighteen
of those are in Chicago's top 50 companies in terms of revenue. In addition
to a census survey, Chicago United added qualitative questions to the new
Profile to increase its relevance to the corporate community. The 2008
Profile provides a measure of companies' intent to advance diversity and
inclusion strategies and the impact of diversity and inclusion as it
relates to retention policies. A committee of corporate executives and
business leaders provided guidance to Chicago United to ensure that the
Profile was more robust and offered a roadmap for improved diversity and
While no city has reached parity in the top executive ranks, Chicago
fares equal to or better than its peers, according to the Profile. The
corporate community deserves recognition and must heighten its profile as a
strong competitor for corporate headquarters and senior leaders of all
cultures, according to the survey.
Furthermore, the Profile indicates that there is a large opportunity
for local enterprises to achieve greater cost efficiencies. There is a
significant gap in retention levels for diverse executive-level talent. The
turnover for diverse executives is 5% more than it is for non-minority
executives. This gap has a direct impact on corporate expenses especially
considering that the estimated replacement cost of turnover for an employee
can be as much as 50% of annual total compensation.
The latest Profile prescribes specific courses of action to increase
the ranks of people of color in corporate leadership:
-- Corporations must engage and embrace different management styles
while also articulating the competencies required to compete in the
-- Take measurement seriously: About 65% of Chicago corporations
surveyed in the Profile have implemented diversity and inclusion strategies
and programs, but fewer than 29% have implemented measurements to determine
the strategies' impact on the bottom-line.
-- Senior management must articulate the business rationale,
implications and action plan from the top down to establish credibility for
-- Beyond articulation, the commitment to diversity must be clearly
demonstrated at the highest levels of the corporation.
"By focusing on talent management, retention and accountability when
implementing strong diversity and inclusion initiatives, Chicago's
corporate community can accelerate equal representation in business
leadership and maintain a competitive advantage in the global war for
talent," said Kevin Connelly, chairman of Chicago United's Corporate
Diversity Profile committee and chairman of Spencer Stuart. "I extend my
sincere thanks to the companies that participated in the Corporate
Diversity Profile and to those who have worked to make it a valuable tool
and reference point for our business community."
The Corporate Diversity Profile, among other programs, continues to
advance Chicago United's mission of driving diversity and inclusion in
order to promote business competitiveness. Over the years, Chicago United
has spearheaded reforms and diversity initiatives to transform the city.
This year marks Chicago United's 40th Anniversary. Under the theme,
"Torchbearers of the Dream: Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future," Chicago
United continues its commitment to strengthen Chicago by closing the gap
between race and business.
About Chicago United
Chicago United is the catalyst driving business leaders to maximize
economic impact for all races. Created in 1968, Chicago United was the
first group to bring together racially diverse CEOs with a common goal of
creating a stronger social and economic climate for everyone in Chicago. To
achieve sustainable impact, members focus on multiracial leadership
development in corporate governance and executive level management;
developing a pipeline of future multiracial executive leaders; and
cultivating multiracial business partnerships. Through a fierce brand of
constructive conversation, Chicago United fosters inclusion and provides an
opportunity for senior executives from all racial and ethnic groups to
learn from one another, confront and break down racial barriers and achieve
SOURCE Chicago United