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Diversity in the workplace is lacking at the top: Here’s why

In management positions across large companies, diversity in the workplace can be very difficult to achieve. BCG in partnership with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) conducted a study that looked across the management consulting industry to understand why consultants (from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds) fall off the promotion track and the study found two root causes — a weak sense of belonging and difficulty navigating professional environments.

By analyzing these root causes, actions can be identified that can break this cycle—a sustainable way in which companies can address the low promotion rates among employees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. While the study focused on management consulting, the lessons learned are also relevant for other industries, including banking and technology, that have faced challenges in creating diversity and inclusion in the leadership ranks.

Study highlights

  • Employees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups find it more challenging to create networks that support their professional growth.
  • These professionals are more likely to be first-generation college graduates than their peers. Consequently, they have less exposure to the unspoken and unwritten rules that impact career trajectory, including how to build relationships that will advance their career and how to promote themselves.