NAMIC Extends Deadline

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Disappointed by initial participation levels, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications has extended the deadline for its minority employment survey to mid-December.

Only 11 cable organizations participated in the NAMIC and DiversityInc. magazine “Multi-Ethnic Employment in the Telecommunications Industry” survey, which queries human-resources executives about diversity practices and asks NAMIC members about their experiences.

NAMIC released early findings in September.

The 163-question survey was sent out to 52 cable companies that collectively operate 110 units, divisions or networks, early last spring — which means that only 10% responded.

Companies had until Sept. 10 to return the surveys to NAMIC and DiversityInc.

NAMIC president Jenny Alonzo said the names of participating companies remain confidential — even from NAMIC board members.

DiversityInc., which compiles an annual top-50 list of companies committed to diversifying employment and supplier ranks, collected the data and tallied the results.

Multichannel News, through calls to various MSOs and programmers, ascertained that Lifetime Television, Court TV, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications, ESPN and Insight Communications Co. provided minority employment information for the survey. Others in the cable community either did not return phone calls or would not confirm participation in the survey.

“We have CEOs talking up the importance of diversity,” Alonzo said. “So why isn’t the industry eager to figure out what needs to be done by supporting the one mechanism we have to benchmark diversity?”

The small pool of companies isn’t sufficient to effectively gauge how the industry stands relative to minority hiring and their advancement into upper management, she said.

“At the end of the day, this isn’t about outing any company — the participation is completely confidential,” Alonzo said. “We want to address this as an industry.”

Cox Communications Inc. senior vice president and chief people officer Mae Douglas professed “shock” at learning so few other companies completed the survey.

The initial cable survey found the number of African-American executives in top management fell from a high of six during NAMIC’s most recent employment survey in 2002 to three in 2004. The number of Asian executives increased from one to three, while Hispanics held even at two. African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics all suffered losses in middle management ranks.