Research Research
2021 U.S. Women of Color in Business:
cross-generational survey©
Untapped Women of Color: The Talent Force Multiplier
Sponsorship Foreword
We are thrilled to announce our sponsorship of the 2021 U.S. Women of Color in Business: Cross-Generational Survey©, which highlights the “generational diversity” among American women “desk workers” and students across four demographic groups (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers) and four races (Black, LatinX, Asian American and White).

Bonita C. Stewart and Jacqueline Adams, trailblazing business leaders, co-authors, and Harvard Business School alumnae, have just completed their 2021 survey, their third conducted by Quadrant Strategies. The work represents an evolution from their original 2019 survey which powered their book, BLESSING: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower and Thrive, published in 2020. The latest research, entitled “Untapped Women of Color: The Talent Force Multiplier,” involved nearly 4300 respondents and, for the first time, compared and contrasted the views of Black and White men managers as well as women of color managers. The data have convinced the co-authors that “great managers matter.” Under-appreciated generational changes are both demanding workplaces of belonging for everyone and challenging leaders to assess “untapped” talent pools as a force multiplier for business success.

At Google, we see this groundbreaking research as another lens to inform our internal initiatives while bringing exceptional thought leadership to all companies navigating the growing complexity of the workplace.

Melonie Parker
Google, LLC
Chief Diversity Officer
The 2021-2022 U.S. Women of Color in Business: Cross-Generational Survey© was drafted by Quadrant Strategies between August and December 2021; it was fielded between January 4 and February 8, 2022. A total of 4300 respondents participated with a margin of error of +/- 1.49%. Respondents included American women desk workers and students across four races (Black, LatinX, Asian, and White) and four generations (Boomer [57-74] , Gen X [40-56], and Millennial [25-39] desk workers, as well as Gen Z [17-24] students). The survey also included responses from 150 Black men managers and 150 White men managers across Millennial, Gen X and Boomers. The age ranges in 2021 have been adjusted to reflect the generations accurately, although the Gen Z age minimum of 17 remained consistent from 2020.
Research Methodology Team Lead: Reem Omer, Quadrant Strategies Senior Associate.
Quadrant Strategies is thrilled to partner with Jackie and Bonita on this third wave of groundbreaking research, which finds striking, and in some cases surprising, differences in the ways that race, gender and generations inform people’s workplace experiences. The findings point to increased entrepreneurship, sisterhood, and confidence among young Black and LatinX women in particular. The research provides tangible guidance for workplace managers on how to empower and develop their employees in ways that will drive higher productivity, morale, and teamwork across their organizations.


Scott Siff
Managing Partner
Quadrant Strategies
About Quadrant Strategies
The company helps clients solve a wide range of brand and communications challenges by employing a broad set of qualitative and quantitative research tools. Quadrant’s partners have 50 combined years of experience helping Fortune 500 companies and other leading organizations address their most pressing branding and strategic communications issues in times of crisis and, more often, not.
Survey Overview
Co-authors Bonita C. Stewart and Jacqueline Adams are gratified that Google, LLC has sponsored their 2021 U.S. Women of Color in Business: Cross-Generational Survey©. Titled Untapped Women of Color: The Talent Force Multiplier, the new release is unique in its analysis of the opinions and capabilities of female desk workers across four generations. The work also highlights new, evolving skills and attitudes that managers must develop to assess and motivate talent, across cultures as well as generations, in the complex post-COVID workplace.

For the first time, the 2021 edition compared and contrasted the experiences of 300 White and Black male managers with those of 4,000 women managers and desk workers across four races (Black, LatinX, Asian American and White) and four generations (Gen Z [ages 17-24], Millennials [ages 25-39], Gen X [ages 40-56], and Boomers [ages 57-74]). The results underscore the need for a more nuanced appreciation of “generational diversity,” an original concept coined by Stewart and Adams.

In addition to including Black and White male managers, this year’s survey takes a deeper look at Asian American female desk workers, with differentiating responses by the women’s countries of origin: China, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.
Major Findings
2021 U.S. Women of Color in Business: cross-generational survey©
The stagnation of the Onlys with a spike in Millennial Onlys:
• Despite promises of progress, despite disruptions to corporate recruiting, the coauthors’ chief performance metric – the Onlys – remains stalled, with almost half of Black and LatinX women continuing to report being frequently or always the only person of their races in professional settings.

• More distressing is that the number of Millennial Onlys – Black, LatinX as well as Asian American Millennials – has spiked: 55% for Black and 45% for LatinX Millennial female desk workers.
• Asked about being Onlys, always or frequently the only person of their race in a professional setting, 49% of Black men managers and 55% of Black women managers agreed. Their White counterparts’ responses: 39% for White men managers and 23% for White women managers.

The strong involvement of Black women especially in the Entrepreneurial and Side-preneurial movement:
• Black and LatinX women reported that they are actively participating in the current startup boom. 32% of Black Millennial women said they founded or co-founded the company they work at, almost doubling the 14% in 2020.

• Just as they reported in 2020, Black women across all generations are more likely to be “side-preneurs”—to have a business they are working on outside of their desk jobs. 27% said they are side-entrepreneurs, as opposed to 16% LatinX, 11% Asian American, and 12% White women.
• The “first to know” finding is the co-authors’ proxy for the creativity and innovation skills demonstrated by “untapped women of color.” Among Millennials, both Black and LatinX women saw significant gains in 2021. They have been ahead of White women in all three years of this survey.

• Male and female managers of all races – except Asian American Women – reported strikingly similar opportunities in the last 12 months for “challenging work assignments that pushed you out of your comfort zone.”

• But the data showed that that parity has come with an apparent cost. Comparing their 2021 and 2020 responses, White male managers reported marked declines in career fulfillment, career satisfaction and their assessment of being successful.

• Yet, when asked about their compensation, White male managers said they earned almost three times as much as any other category of managers, except Asian American women managers. White male managers earned slightly less than twice as much as Asian American women. One caveat: just 150 White men managers and 150 Black men managers were queried.

• The new data showed optimism and resilience among the Black men managers that mirrored the responses of the women managers and desk workers of color overall.
Manager Momentum Needed To Drive Business Performance:
• As the world becomes more diverse and younger generations demand new standards for workplace belonging and inclusiveness, effective managers matter even more. Manager Momentum answers the challenge.

Six Actions to Tap Untapped WOC Talent:
• Driven by Cultural Intelligence (CQ) skills and Generational Diversity, managers must focus on six key actionable areas:

Word Cloud – Millennial Black + LatinX Advice for Managers:
• 2021 Word Clouds delivered strong and actionable messages by generation and by race for what women of color now want from their managers.

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