Corporate machine

African-American women most likely to want top executive jobs

Ursula M. Burns, president of the Xerox Corp. Nik Rocklin/Xerox Corp. via The New York Times

While the number of women holding CEO positions at America’s largest corporation is tiny — only 23 women lead companies listed on the S&P 500 — the number of African-American women in that position is minuscule. Only Xerox’s Ursula Burns makes the list. A new report by the Center for Talent Innovation reveals, however, that the disparity has nothing to do with a lack of ambition. In its research sample, 22 percent of African-American professional women said they aspire to a powerful position with a prestigious title, compared with just 8 percent of white professional women. Moreover, African-American women are far more confident they can succeed in powerful positions (43 percent versus 30 percent of white women) and more likely to say high earnings were important to their careers (81 percent versus 54 percent). Despite their ambitions, however, African-American women still face an uphill battle, as many report feeling frustrated in their careers. Many feel that they are stalled, or that their talents are not adequately recognized by managers, the researchers learned. Unconscious biases and a disparity in how their performance is judged plays a big role in the difficulties black women face when trying to advance their careers, the study found.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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