According to a recent Fortune article, 16% of all Ivy League graduates describe themselves as Asian or Asian American. And at some top schools, like MIT and Stanford, that percentage is even higher. While only about 5% of the US population is of Asian descent, these graduation statistics should point to a large Asian population of top business leaders.
But they don’t. In fact, only 1.5% of executives at Fortune 500 companies are Asian – and only 8 Asian professionals occupy the CEO seat in this top echelon of business. Why are there so few Asians in senior leadership in the US’s top companies?
It’s certainly not a lack of ambition. In fact, research by the Center for Work-Life Policy revealed that Asians are just as likely as other groups to ask for a raise or promotion. And as Sylvia Ann Hewlett, President of the CWLP, wrote in a Forbes article, “64 percent of Asian professionals aspire to top jobs, compared to only 52 percent of their Caucasian peers.” What’s keeping this highly educated and ambitious group from reaching the top?