Asia

Why Asian Americans Don’t Get More Leadership Roles

Asian Americans, in essence, have what it takes to be a leader in any business or organization. For some reason, however, very few gets to be bestowed with the role in the United States.  

Statistics have shown that, in some key areas such as jobs, education and income, Asian Americans have to ability to outperform whites and other minorities. With a consistently higher percentage of Asian-American adults having at least a college degree for many years now, the group has even been called as the country’s “model minority.”

According to the new numbers released by theU.S. Census Bureau, 54% of Asians in the United States, have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to the 33 % college-graduation rate overall.

Asians have also consistently posted the lowest unemployment rate than the other groups, with the most recent figures post the rate at 3% for Asians, 4.2% for Whites, 5.7% for Hispanics and 8.1% for Blacks.

Despite such advantages or successes, however, Asian Americans remain underrepresented in US firms’ key leadership positions, Bloomberg reported.

In the 2015 report on Silicon Valley diversity prepared by an Asian professional organization, it revealed that while Asians are well represented in lower-level positions at tech firms Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LinkedIn, and Yahoo, they are hugely underrepresented at executive or even at least management levels

The report found that only 19% of Asian Americans are managers and 14% of them are executives. Whites, on the other hand, represented 80% of executives in the five companies. A 2012 report earlier, also found that in the top Fortune 500 companies, Asians represent only 1.5% of corporate officer positions.

According to experts, the reason Asian Americans do not advance into leadership positions is due to certain stereotypes about Asians.

A study in 2005 showed that individuals who view Asians with their high competence and low sociability ratings would choose to avoid interacting with them. The stereotype about the “highly competent” Asians may make them appear threatening competitors at work. Meanwhile, the other Asian stereotype of being socially inept can easily be judged as a trait unfit for a leadership position.

The authors proposed that this was because whites are threatened by such competence and just use the social skill stereotype as an excuse to discriminate.

Since traditional business norms expect leaders to be charismatic and socially skilled, the stereotypes play well against the chances of Asians getting promoted. Preferred leaders are often those who are more masculine and authoritative and in this area, Asians are again at a disadvantage.

Experts suggest that unless the “good leader” model is changed and Asian stereotypes are set aside, Asian Americans will continue to be sidelined to lesser positions.

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