African-Americans have been working hard for many years to shape the landscape of our country, yet we are still far from reaching full representation in many of the nation’s leading industries. Several years removed from the civil rights movement, our level of representation in many fields, including consulting, falls short.
Although there is a challenge for equal representation, especially among the leadership ranks, there are many firms that are taking the diversity initiative very seriously. Their efforts can lead to a turnaround for underrepresented minorities, especially African-Americans. But to improve recruitment numbers and more importantly, retention numbers, first we need to understand the crux of the matter to adequately address it.
The African-American community is rooted in family and often the sacrifices necessary to excel and achieve are not readily received and supported by the family. This can be a difficult challenge to overcome by many of those in pursuit of leadership positions within their industries.
In addition,to excel in consulting, as with other industries, it is all about networking and mentorship. African-Americans do not have the ready-made network and inroads that surround the majority population. This puts the starting point for African-Americans at a deficit when it comes to breaking through in these fields, which makes it much more challenging to succeed.
So, are African Americans doomed to lack of success?
Far from it. African-American entrepreneurship has long had a profound effect on our nation’s culture. Consider the number of Black Americans who have traded the pursuit of the executive suite for entrepreneurship, and it will give you a sense of the disdain that may exist over the lack of representation in these ranks.
It sends a clear message that more African-Americans are saying, ” I don’t want to wait years for a promotion or someone else to validate my career. Let me create my own success and build my enterprise and do things my way.”
Understanding the Absence of African Americans in Consulting. A brief overview by Daryl Watkins, a 19 year professional with a background in consulting and corporate ranks.