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What women of color need in the workplace, charted

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Working women of color want pay raises, freedom to lead in their own style, and career resources to develop and advance. Many are not getting these resources, according to a new survey (pdf) from Working Mother Research Institute.

The US-based research group, affiliated with Working Mother magazine, surveyed more than 1,300 multicultural women in the US to find out what they want and what is lacking in their workplaces.

For example, around three quarters of the three primary cultural groups surveyed said that a company that is open to different leadership styles would be helpful. But Hispanic women are the only group in which more than half of the respondents felt they received that.

Hispanic women are also the most likely to say they have a different leadership style based on their ethnicity, according to the survey.

And almost across the board, white women are more satisfied with their opportunities at work than are women of color.

More than half the women of color said they would like a job with greater responsibility, compared to 41% of white, non-Hispanic women.

Yet women of color were more likely to say they’ve been overlooked for key job assignments.

Multicultural women, especially Hispanic women, say they would benefit from mentors and sponsors in the office, people in higher positions to offer advice (mentors) advocate on their behalf for career opportunities (sponsors).

White women were actually least likely to say they had a mentor or sponsor, and also the least likely to say they needed one. That might be because women of color “more likely than white women to feel excluded from informal networks and tend to interact with a narrower range of colleagues,” according to the report.

Mentors would be especially helpful because one thing that some women of color lack is “a better understanding of what is required to advance” in the workplace, according to the survey.

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