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Why executives of color are most likely to quit their jobs

July 1, 2022, 9:17 PM UTC
A Black woman leaving her office while holding a box of personal belongings.
More employees of color are inclined to quit their jobs due to a lack of professional development opportunities.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc—Getty Images

Happy Friday.

A new survey from The Conference Board, shared exclusively with Fortune, finds that people of color are more likely to consider leaving their jobs if they don’t have access to professional development opportunities.

This should surprise no one.

Their latest workforce survey of some 1,200 knowledge workers finds that people of color highly value opportunities to learn and upskill, but are more likely to report a lack of access to professional development than their white counterparts.

Further, they’re not going to stick around without it.

When asked: How likely are you to leave your company for another if you do not receive the development opportunities you believe you need?, some 68% of Black respondents, 70% of Hispanic and Latinx respondents, and 80% of Asian respondents said it could be a deal-breaker. When you dig into the data by gender, however, women of color also say so at alarming rates; some 71% of Black women, 70% of Latina, and 70% of Asian women said they’d be likely to leave, as compared to 56% of white women.

There are interesting insights about Millennials, too—who increasingly expect formal opportunities for growth as part of their jobs. But what hangs in the air is how employers, who may be working diligently to diversify their homogenous workforces, are ignoring the greater opportunity to help people grow together.

It’s something that Cynthia Owyoung flags in her new book,  All Are Welcome: How to Build a Real Workplace Culture of Inclusion That Delivers Results. Owyoung, who is the vice president, Inclusion, Equity & Belonging for the financial services firm Robinhood, says that targeted leadership development, ones that explore growth through the perspective of professionals from overlooked demographics—and who may be bringing in some culturally-specific concerns—could make a huge difference. Leadership programs need to move past assimilation to help employees learn the “strategies they need to employ to be their authentic selves as leaders,” she tells Linkedin.

If you’re a professional of color, what development programs do you have access to? How might they be improved? If you’re in a position to design or launch new programs, how can they be more inclusive?

Let me know, subject line: Growing leaders

And have a revolutionary long weekend, if you’re in the mood to. We appreciate you.

Ellen McGirt

This edition of raceAhead was edited by Ashley Sylla.

On point

A historic day for a troubled court  At just after noon D.C. time yesterday, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the sixth woman and first-ever Black woman Supreme Court justice. She joins the court at a difficult time; shortly after she took her oath, antiabortion protesters were arrested outside of the Supreme Court building. The loss of Roe v. Wade protection—along with other controversial decisions—has made this a uniquely challenging time for the highest court in the land. And yet, know hope. "I am glad for my fellow justices. They gain a colleague who is empathetic, thoughtful, and collegial," said Justice Stephen Breyer, who is stepping down. Brown will also be the first justice since Thurgood Marshall to represent poor defendants as a criminal defense attorney. It has clearly shaped her, and I hope it informs her work. 

She is her own form of miracle. As I’ve noted before, some 86% of lawyers are non-Hispanic white people, and just 5% of all lawyers are Black, a number which hasn’t budged in a decade, according to the ABA National Lawyer Population Survey. The federal judicial system isn’t much better.

I look forward to reading her first dissent. May her work become a beacon.

Parting words

"I am here standing on the shoulders of generations of Americans who never had anything close to this kind of opportunity. This nomination is significant to a lot of people, and I hope that it will bring confidence, it will help inspire people to understand that our courts are like them, that our judges are like them. Doing the work, being part of our government: I think it's very important."

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

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