Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Barriors to Employment Still Confront Minorities

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Barriors to Employment Still Confront Minorities

Article excerpt

A recent special report on minority recruitment from the National Business Employment Weekly indicates that minorities are still facing barriers in hiring in general and particularly during the current recession.

Statistics provided by the report are indeed informative: the unemployment rate for black Americans in June 1992 was 14.9 percent. For white counterparts, the rate was half that at 6.8 percent. Hispanic unemployment was 12.1 percent. The statistics came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the National Urban League reported that for the third quarter of last year compared with the same period of the previous year, unemployment for black managers and executives increased three times greater than unemployment for white managers and executives.

One myth related to minority hiring perceived by white managers is that blacks have an unfair advantage in the job market because of affirmative action hiring. The truth is that although more employers are hiring minorities, the numbers relative to overall employment do not support the myth.

Additionally, minorities are often limited to positions specifically targeted to minorities.

There are several positive areas for minorities in the market, however. The demand for minorities appears to be highest in engineering, computer specialties and sales and marketing. Topmost on the sought-after list are minorities who have a combination of technical and managerial skills.

Unfortunately, the tendency of companies to fire first whom they last hired means that minority gains in hiring are set back by difficulty in remaining on the job long enough to accrue seniority, as a whole.

One of the most promising fields for minority hiring remains in health care, according to Toby Thompkins, a manager at Baxter International in Deerfield, Illinois.

Thompkins asserts that there is a need for persons who can deal with perceptions and stereotypes in understanding other people and in helping them compassionately. He said that the growing home health-care industry provides job opportunities for blacks, Hispanics and Asians, particularly in urban settings as employees go directly into patients' homes.

Other good general advice to minority job seekers is to target small businesses as well as companies with a good track record of minority hiring. Minorities must develop and use networks of contacts and become involved in professional organizations. Membership in the latter, listed on a resume, may be a useful and subtle way to draw an employer's attention to the minority applicant.

Finally, a well-constructed and nourished network can certainly help return the minority worker, and anyone, to the job market faster when layoffs are encountered. …

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