Study: Cable Trails Other Industries in Diversity

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The cable industry will put its best foot forward regarding diversity efforts this week, but a new industry-based survey indicated that cable still lags behind other industries in hiring and promoting people of color.

Despite an increased emphasis on diversity over the past few years, there’s been little progress with regard to promoting minorities to the executive ranks, according to the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications’ Multi-Ethnic Employment in the Telecommunications Industry report.

The survey, to be discussed this week at a NAMIC conference in New York, was developed in association with DiversityInc magazine, which compiles an annual top-50 list of companies committed to diversifying their employment and supplier ranks.

Multichannel News obtained early results from the survey, which only included responses from 10 unidentified companies in the cable sector. The report queried human-resources executives at various operators and programmers about their diversity practices and asked NAMIC members how seriously they think the industry treats the goal of diversifying the executive ranks.

The survey found that the number of African-American executives in top cable 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 to three from one, and Hispanics remained even at two.

African Americans, Asians and Hispanics all suffered losses in the middle-management ranks, according to the survey.

NAMIC president Jenny Alonzo said cable has been proactive in attracting minorities, but it hasn’t adequately helped them to move up the corporate ladder.

The industry in general didn’t compare favorably to the DiversityInc top 50.

More than 178 companies, including some from the cable industry, participated in the 2004 DiversityInc survey, which asked detailed questions about top-level commitment to diversity, supplier diversity programs and methods of communicating diversity initiatives externally and internally.

Time Warner Inc. was the only cable company in the top 50, at No. 49. Pitney Bowes Inc. ranked first.

Cable executives with knowledge of the report would not comment on the matter.

For more on diversity in the cable industry, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page one of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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