Black Representation in Information Sector up in 2019; Asian Representation Dips

Written by: S&P Global Market Intelligence | S&P Global

Diversity in the information sector — which includes industries such as motion picture and sound recording, telecommunications and data processing — appears to be improving slightly for some groups, and large companies in the tech and telecom industries say they are eager to do more on this front.

In 2019, the percentage of Black or African American employees in management, business and financial operations roles in the information sector rose to new highs, while there were slightly fewer Asian employees in those roles year over year, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from its annual surveys released each January.

Black individuals accounted for 10.1% of workers in the information sector in management, business and financial operations roles during 2019, up from 7.9% in 2018 and 8% in 2017. The group makes up 13.4% of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest estimates.

Asian individuals, meanwhile, accounted for 8.3% of workers in the information sector in management, business and financial operations roles during 2019, down from 9.2% the prior year. Asian people represent 5.9% of the U.S. population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics only provided U.S. employment data for white, Asian, and Black or African American ethnicities in its latest estimates.

Large tech and telecom firms have ramped up their diversity efforts in recent months.

Microsoft Corp. in June pledged to invest $50 million over five years to expand its justice reform initiative as part of newly announced measures to address systemic racism against the Black community in the U.S. As part of that effort, the company also pledged to make its culture and workforce more diverse and inclusive through mandatory training, career planning, talent development and improved representation.

The company will invest an additional $150 million in diversity and inclusion efforts and plans to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders in the U.S. by 2025.

Social media company Facebook Inc. has set aside an additional $200 million to support businesses and organizations headed by Black entrepreneurs and leaders. Facebook also committed to boosting the representation of people of color in leadership positions by 30% over the next five years.

Comcast Corp., meanwhile, committed $100 million to combat injustice and inequality based on ability, ethnicity, gender identity, race or sexual orientation. Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts highlighted five focus areas for the company: social justice, employees, awareness and education, digital equity, and small business opportunity.

Related: Want to Achieve Greater Diversity? Start With Women