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UW-Milwaukee - Center for Economic Development

Policy Research Report Abstract

Cracks in the Glass Ceiling? Diversity and Management in Metro Milwaukee's Private Industry in the 1990s

Executive Summary

During the 1990s, the gender and racial composition of management at metropolitan Milwaukee's largest private-sector employers became much more diverse. At firms covered by the annual Equal Employment Opportunity Commission workforce survey, women and minorities garnered the lion's share of the net new jobs created as "officials and managers" in the region's largest companies during the 1990s. The gains by women were particularly spectacular: over 70 percent of the net new job growth in private-sector officials and managers in metro Milwaukee during the 1990s went to women. All told, women and minorities secured 87 percent of Milwaukee's net new managerial jobs, a rate of growth that exceeded most large metropolitan areas during the decade.

Despite these encouraging trends, the historical legacy of exclusion still weighs heavily on Milwaukee's occupational structure. Milwaukee remained in 1999 near the bottom of U.S. metropolitan areas in the proportion of women and minorities holding managerial jobs in large enterprises (controlling for differences in the size of female and minority labor force). Through 1990, Milwaukee ranked so far behind other metropolitan areas in gender and racial diversity in management that even the substantial progress of the 1990s has only modestly changed our overall ranking. In "cracking the glass ceiling," Milwaukee made laudable progress in the 1990s, but the region still has a long way to go simply to reach the median of major metropolitan areas in the United States.

Cracks in the Glass Ceiling?

Milwaukee's Rank Among the Nation's
50 Largest Metropolitan Areas on UWMCED's
"Index of Managerial Diversity"

Category     Milwaukee's    
1990 Rank  
Milwaukee's
1999 Rank  
Women
44
39
Blacks
50
48
Hispanics
37
37

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