Experts believe that balanced and healthy workplaces should reflect the cultural diversity of the state or country. When one race is underrepresented in positions of management or leadership, it should raise concerns about potential race discrimination in the workplace.
For instance, the Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP) reports that Asians comprise about 5 percent of the US population. However, they account for only 1.8 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies and about 2 percent of board members.
Of particular concern is the fact that Asians are often underrepresented despite showing high levels of education, training and ambition. According to the CWLP, about 64 percent of Asians aspire to top jobs, a number greater than the 52 percent of Caucasians with similar aspirations.
The phenomenon has been dubbed the "bamboo ceiling," and experts say that Asians themselves are very aware of the fact that they are underrepresented in the upper crust of American workplaces.
The result is that many Asian employees experience lower job satisfaction and more stress at work due to the feeling that they don't fit in. The CWLP says that about 63 percent of Asian men feel stalled in their career; a problem which also affects 44 percent of Asian women.
Check back later this week as we continue our discussion. We will talk about how cultural differences might be contributing to the "bamboo ceiling." We will also discuss how these differences can be overcome, as well as why experts believe that Asian employees are more valuable than ever before in today's global market.
Source: Bloomberg, "Breaking Through the Bamboo Ceiling," Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Aug. 3, 2011