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Survey: Minorities More Skeptical of Merit Promotion

Black and Hispanic employees are more skeptical than their white colleagues that performance on the job will lead to career advancement, according to a national telephone survey by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston.

February 6, 2007
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Boston — Feb. 6
Black and Hispanic employees are more skeptical than their white colleagues that performance on the job will lead to career advancement, according to a national telephone survey by Novations Group, a global consulting organization based in Boston.

Nearly two-thirds of white employees, 65.2 percent, cited job performance as most important for advancement in their workplace compared with just 56.6 percent and 58.2 percent for Hispanics and blacks, respectively.

Respondents were asked, "What do you think is the most important reason for advancement in your workplace?"


Their answers are as follows:

  • Job Performance
  • Hispanic: 56.6 percent
  • Black: 58.2 percent
  • White: 65.2 percent
  • Who You Know
  • Hispanic: 20.1 percent
  • Black: 13.3 percent
  • White: 19.2 percent
  • Seniority
  • Hispanic: 12.2 percent
  • Black: 14.7 percent
  • White: 9 percent
  • Luck
  • Hispanic: 1.7 percent
  • Black: 1.7 percent
  • White: 1.6 percent

"Asked the main reason for promotion where they work, Hispanics and blacks were somewhat more likely than whites to cite other factors such as 'who you know' or seniority,” said Novations CEO and President Mike Hyter. “But the statistical gaps with respect to job performance are significant and point to a widespread perception that organizations needs to address.”

What should concern senior management, Hyter said, is the overall lukewarm endorsement of merit promotion.

“Just 61.4 percent of all employees said it’s job performance, which means there’s a large minority that doesn’t believe the system is working fairly or as it’s supposed to,” he said. “On the other hand, for the merit system to work fairly organizations have to make available to all employees the challenging opportunities.

“And at the same time, individual employees themselves must become engaged in managing their own growth and development and demonstrate a willingness to take up those risks and challenges. While job performance and merit are certainly key, so is initiative.”

The telephone phone survey of 668 employed Americans was conducted for Novations Group on Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 by International Communications Research, Media, PA. Hispanics were double-sampled with 106 in the survey sample.

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