Blavity: millions of black women at risk of losing jobs to automation.

April 23, 2020 Audra Jenkins

African American women have long faced biases that have kept them in lower-level, administrative and support jobs. Today, as many of those jobs become automated, these same women are in danger of being out of work entirely. The loss of this workforce not only negatively impacts the economy, but would also diminish the benefits of a highly diverse workforce.

“It is imperative that employers who value diversity and inclusion create and begin implementing proactive plans to help vulnerable workers move out of support and administrative roles and into managerial positions that rely on complex, inherently human ‘soft skills’ and are less likely to be automated than task-oriented roles,” writes Audra Jenkins, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Randstad USA.

Jenkins offers several strategies that employers can execute – beginning with reskilling these women for jobs that require advanced skills, beyond administrative tasks. These can include negotiation, documentation, client interaction and managerial skills. She also recommends sponsorship programs as being critical to the success of African American women, along with formal training and mentorship programs.

Read more about supporting workforce diversity in Blavity. You can also read Jenkins’ white paper, “women and automation” for more insights on how employers and talent can prepare for the displacement that will be caused by automation.

about the author

Audra Jenkins

As chief diversity and inclusion officer, Jenkins spearheads initiatives both within and outside of our organization. She not only advances diversity and inclusion among internal employees, she also partners with customers as they work to achieve their own diversity goals. Jenkins firmly believes that diversity and inclusion must be woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to attract quality candidates, enhance employee engagement and drive performance. She brings more than 20 years of human resources, diversity and compliance experience, along with a passion for advocating on behalf of underserved populations. She is the executive sponsor for Randstad’s Hire Hope program, which provides career readiness training and job placement services to at-risk women, including survivors of exploitation and trafficking.

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