Posted on November 19, 2009

Race-Based Hiring

Tali Arbel, Google News (scroll down), November 17, 2009

Managers’ race has had a “significant” effect on the race of employees, according to a study of personnel data from a U.S. retailer over 30 months.


The study tracked about 100,000 employees at more than 700 stores belonging to one, unidentified chain from February 1996 to July 1998.

The report found that replacing an African-American manager with a white, Hispanic or Asian manager resulted in the hiring of fewer African-American employees. The percentage of new workers who were African-American under the non-black managers dropped to 17 percent. Under the previous African-American manager, newly hired employees had been 21 percent black.

The region and ethnic makeup of the community that a store was in affected hiring as well, the report found. For example, in the South, replacing an African-American manager with a non-black manager led to a bigger drop in the proportion of African-Americans among new employees than in the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, in regions that were at least 30 percent Hispanic, the study said the proportion of new workers who were Hispanic dropped from 59 percent to 48 percent after a white manager took over from a Hispanic boss. The share of employees hired on who were white increased.

The reason behind the racial pattern in hiring was unclear, the authors said. {snip}

The study also found that white employees were more likely to quit their jobs if an African-American manager replaced a non-black manager.


[Editor’s Note: “Manager Race and the Race of New Hires,” by Laura Giuliano, et al., can be downloaded as a PDF file here. There is a charge.]