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.
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