It’s no secret that Black workers face massive institutional challenges in corporate America, including higher barriers to productive employment, a broken rung that stymies ambition and career development, and corporate cultures that often tolerate microaggression toward them. The roots of these and other challenges are embedded in the fabric of American capitalism, and Black Americans’ larger struggle for equal rights, pay, and protection under the law.
What results is a landscape where Black workers are overrepresented in low-paying frontline positions, and underrepresented in management and senior leadership positions – a fact that McKinsey believes will take another 95 years to change, on our current trajectory.
Many strong voices and organizations will be dissecting these points over the course of Black History Month. For our part, we’ll do what we do best – use data to objectively highlight the state of affairs.
As you read through, keep in mind that our analysis is limited to the S&P 500, and our conclusions are based on FY 2021 EEO-1 disclosures, and not company reported data. In addition, there are still 148 companies in the S&P 500 that have not yet disclosed EEO-1 data. With that in mind:
- Companies with large Black workforces are rare. In fact, there are only eight S&P 500 companies where Black employees make up more than one-quarter of the workforce. Collectively, these companies employ nearly half a million Black Americans.
|Delta Air Lines||25.2%||22,460|
- Not surprisingly, five of these companies are based in the South, where nearly 60 percent of the Black workforce is concentrated. Outside of Nike, Amazon, and Public Storage, which are all based on the West Coast, FedEx (Memphis), Carrier (Palm Beach), Aflac and Delta (Atlanta), and Altria (Richardson, VA) are all based in Southern cities.
- Black employees make up an outsized share of the workforce at these companies, but only six have talent parity in their management ranks, and only two do in their executive ranks.
- Black Americans make up 12 percent of the population, but only a select few companies have a similar share of Black executives. Outside of Nike and Aflac, only nine other S&P 500 companies have talent parity in their executive ranks — BorgWarner, UPS, Lowe’s, ConEdison, AutoZone, Centerpoint Energy, Comerica, Entergy, and Southern Company.
- Sixty companies also have no Black executives whatsoever. Many are real estate investment trusts (REITs), which by nature have lean executive teams. But outside of the real estate sector, the list of companies with zero Black executives is long, and includes household names in retail, technology, energy, and hospitality.
- Worth noting, Black managers and executives are also few and far between in the technology sector. More than half of S&P 500 tech companies have low levels (less than five percent) of Black managers and executives, while a handful of them – including Juniper Networks, Motorola Solutions, Autodesk, Broadcom, and AMD have no Black Americans in their executive ranks.