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Asian women in US financial sector say bamboo ceiling prevented their career advancement, study reveals

  • The Association of Asian American Investment Managers surveyed more than 600 women who identify as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and work in investment management from different backgrounds.

  • About 60% of Asian American women who work in the financial sector say their race and gender have hindered their career advancements.

  • Eight in 10 of the women noted that the so-called “bamboo ceiling” has hindered them from rising through the senior management ranks.

About 60% of Asian American women who work in the U.S. financial sector say their race and gender have hindered their career advancements, according to a new study published on Tuesday.

The Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM) surveyed more than 600 women who identify as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and work in investment management from different backgrounds.

Out of the women surveyed, 62% said their race became a big impediment later on in their careers, particularly at senior levels. Eight in 10 of the women noted that the so-called “bamboo ceiling,” which limits AAPIs due to a combination of individual, cultural and organizational factors, has hindered them from rising through the senior management ranks. 

“Especially when trying to move up in the ranks, the onus was on women to prove themselves,” Filipino American Melissa Maquilan Radic, a former BlackRock Inc. executive, told Bloomberg. “I would look at women who had similar job titles to men, and their qualifications were twice as robust.”

Although there have been pledges to boost diversity in workplaces, Brenda Chia, the capital development chief at Paladin Capital Group and the co-chair of AAAIM’s board, said, “I haven’t seen a big shift in the needle in terms of Asian women rising up the ranks.”

In a similar study conducted by management consulting company McKinsey, researchers found that Asian American women experience a severe drop of 80% in promotions at high levels in senior management positions.

Although Asian Americans are heavily represented in junior and mid-level positions in corporate jobs, representation at high levels in executive management positions is significantly lacking. 

“The model minority stereotype makes it easy to assume Asian Americans are already doing well at work; the myth of the monolith makes it easy to think that targeted support and detailed data about their experiences are not necessary; and the perpetual-foreigner mindset among people who are not Asian American makes it more difficult for Asian Americans to feel included and to advance,” the McKinsey researchers wrote. 

 

Featured Image via Mimi Thian

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