WICT, NAMIC Surveys: Women, People of Color Make Gains at Senior Management, Executive Levels

Employee turnover, internal promotion levels still need improvement

The cable industry added more women and people of color in senior level positions over the past two years, but turnover and promotion rates within the company ranks slid, according to new employment survey reports from the Women In Cable and National Association Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.

According to the findings of the WICT’s PAR Cable Telecommunications Industry Diversity Survey and NAMIC’s AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) Workforce Study -- which were revealed this morning (Sept. 26) during a joint WICT and NAMIC Town Hall meeting -- women increased their ranks within executive and senior levels by 5.5% since the last survey, in 2015. According to the 2017 survey, women are being recruited at higher rates than men and promoted at near equal or higher rates.

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On the downside, the turnover rate for women is higher than for men at every level, but it has improved since 2015.

Overall, the total percentage of female full-time employees among the 2017 respondents is 34%.

"There is measurable progress in a number of areas for women, specifically at the senior manager and executive levels, where the industry outperforms other industries; however, there is still work to be done," said Maria E. Brennan, WICT president and CEO. "The key driver for women to achieving parity with men in other areas continues to be better employee retention. Though we are pleased to see improvements in this area in 2017 that results in projected growth over the next 10 years, improvement will be faster with better strategies and programs to improve retention.”

For professionals of color the outlook is even rosier, with increases found across all employment levels, according to the survey. The largest increase is the percentage of executives and senior-level managers who are people of color, which increased by 7.8% compared with 2015 levels.

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Promotion rates for professionals of color continue to be lower compared with previous surveys, while turnover rates remain higher than for their white counterparts across the responding organizations. Due to significantly higher hire rates for people of color however, the industry population is expanding according to the survey.

"While there is evidence that our industry is committed to increasing multi-ethnic diversity, continued vigilance and commitment will be essential as we move forward," said Eglon E. Simons, president and CEO of NAMIC. "The lower rates of retention and lower rates of promotion being experienced by professionals of color threaten to undermine hard-fought gains. We should be encouraged by the increase in executives and senior managers of color. However, efforts to enhance advancement and retention will play a key role in improving these statistics.”

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Both outcomes could improve if organizations are able to retain women at the same rates as their male counterparts and people of color at the same rates as their white counterparts, said research company Mercer, which managed the development of customized data reports for NAMIC and WICT.

A total of 24 organizations participated in the survey, with an estimated 67.5% of the workforce captured, according to NAMIC and WICT.