WOCA 2023: Fair360 Research Update on Women of Color and Talent Programs

Corporate leadership roles significantly underrepresent women of color. But even among the Fair360 Top 50 Companies for Diversity, challenges still exist. What role can talent programs play in promoting and representing women of color?

Dr. Chris Parker, Head of Research and Data Analytics at Fair360, sought to answer that question during a presentation at the 6th annual Women of Color and Their Allies event on September 21.

Parker examined all companies that provided representation data between 2017 and 2022 from the Top 50 Competition. Machine learning was used to determine whether talent program features affect promotion and hiring. Control variables included prior year promotions or hiring relative to representation. 

Fair360’s research found that increased representation of women of color in talent programs predicted their increased promotions and hiring into Level 1 to Level 4 management the following year. 

“We looked separately at mentoring, employee resource groups and sponsorship. I talked a little bit about mentoring and employee resource groups last year, so sponsorship is an addition to this list,” said Parker. “What we’re finding across all three of these programs is significant relationships where representation of women of color in those programs in previous years is linked to and correlated with representation outcomes in the current year. That representation outcome includes overall representation, representation within hiring, as well as representation in promotions.”

Parker added that companies can make themselves attractive to people of color by developing a strong internal pipeline.

“As I see it, this represents a pathway to progress,” he added.

Watch all our 2023 Women of Color and Their Allies event sessions here!