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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 17, 2011

Cable Telecommunications Organizations are Embracing Key Diversity Practices: Survey

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

The National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) released the findings of the 2011 NAMIC AIM and WICT PAR Cable Telecommunications Industry Diversity Survey.

The survey found that cable telecommunications organizations are embracing key diversity practices. Organizations that participated in this year's survey scored better on key diversity practices compared with SHRM telecommunications industry comparison data.

However, when cable telecommunications organizations were compared to similarly sized organizations in SHRM's all-industry comparison data, responses were similar. This suggests that organizational staff size plays a critical role in the scale and sophistication of diversity practices that organizations may employ.

The survey identified top five diversity practices employed by cable telecommunications organizations. They include: Recruiting strategies designed to help increase diversity within organizations; community outreach tied to diversity, such as links between organizations and educational institutions, government entities, and the like; leadership development opportunities (e.g., mentoring, coaching) designed to increase diversity in higher-level positions; employing employee attitude surveys that include items related to organizational diversity; and aligning diversity with business goals and objectives.

The NAMIC and WICT study gathered data related to workforce demographics and diversity and inclusion practices from the cable telecommunications industry. The survey was based on a census survey consisting of 83 quantitative and qualitative questions focused on gender and race/ethnicity, for a variety of job categories.

The survey participants included 25 companies, representing 54 percent of the cable telecommunications industry workforce. Fourteen of the company respondents were programmers, eight were multi-system operators, and three companies were either industry suppliers or non-profits.

The survey measured four specific criteria: the 10 percent highest paid full-time employees; executive/senior-level officials and managers; first/mid-level officials and managers; and, for the first time, women holding seats on corporate boards. It also benchmarked workforce demographic data against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data for all industries, as well as the telecommunications and information industry.

“The survey results are indicative of our industry's commitment to fostering greater diversity and inclusion,” said Kathy A. Johnson, president, NAMIC, in a statement. “While the numbers are moving in the right direction, there remain opportunities for NAMIC and industry collaboration to ensure that representation in senior leadership is keeping pace with our nation's demographic shifts.”

A significant finding of the survey is the gains women achieved in 2011 in a number of positions. Cable telecommunications organizations increased their representation of women executives, board directors and new hires. However, according to the survey, opportunities still remain to ensure pay equity for women.

“We are extremely pleased to see the progress women have made since we last fielded the PAR survey two years ago,” said Maria E. Brennan, president and CEO of WICT, in a statement. “And we look forward to partnering with the industry to continue to seek parity at all levels for women in cable.”

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell