Engineering careers are a gateway to an elite and upwardly mobile life. However, African Americans and other minorities are disproportionately underrepresented in engineering and technology companies. Employers cite a shortage of qualified STEM workers yet may be overlooking available talent due to hiring practices that are susceptible to interpersonal biases, as well as recruitment pipelines that reproduce current workforce demographics. These interpersonal biases and organizational practices intersect with structural factors, such as racial disparities in educational opportunity and segregated social networks, to form mutually reinforcing barriers to equal employment opportunity in engineering for African Americans. This thesis examines employer recruitment and hiring practices that reduce discrimination and promote diversity for new engineering graduates who are Black. Twelve current or former Fortune 500 employees with knowledge of recruitment and hiring practices for new engineering graduates were interviewed. Responses were analyzed and compared to research on factors that reduce discrimination and promote diversity in hiring. Key practices that seemed to promote diversity and mitigate discrimination were: (a) building recruitment partnerships with institutions where there was a higher concentration of Black engineering students, and (b) setting diversity hiring goals accompanied with top-down accountability throughout an organization. Corporations had to be sufficiently motivated in order to implement these key practices. Participants attributed corporate motivations to research on the benefits of a diverse workforce, negative media attention on a lack of diversity in engineering companies, changing U.S. population demographics, and government contractor accountability. Employers will need to take significant, strategic, and sustained efforts beyond their normal practices to increase the diversity of their engineering workforce.
|Advisor:||Slaughter, John B., Venegas, Kristan M.|
|Commitee:||Samkian, Artineh, Turner, Michele|
|School:||University of Southern California|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sociology, Organizational behavior, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Black, College, Discrimination, Diversity, Engineers, Hiring|
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