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Robert Johnson, the founder of BET, on improving the representation of blacks in the workforce



Robert Johnson, the founder of BET, told CNBC on Monday that he believes that if it fails, the company will take racial inequality among its employees more seriously.

Johnson said at the closing ceremony: “Companies understand the return on invested capital. They understand the return on equity. They understand the total return to shareholders.” “Associating all these factors with the employment opportunities for black Americans at all levels, I think You will see the results because it is what the company understands. They responded to financial factors and market conditions.”

Johnson’s comments come after consulting giant McKinsey & Company released a new report on black employment in the private sector in the United States. The McKinsey report uses data from 24 companies that have 3.7 million employees. The McKinsey report found that there are significant differences in the representation of blacks in management positions.

Black Americans account for 1

2% of the total workforce in the private sector, but in companies participating in the McKinsey report, they only account for 7% of managers. According to the report, at the level of senior managers, vice presidents and senior vice presidents, the representation rate of blacks has dropped to 4% to 5%.

The report points out: “According to the current trajectory, it will take about 95 years for black employees to reach the level of talent parity (or 12% of representatives) in the private sector.”

Johnson said that he believes that the only way the company will work seriously to resolve the employment gap, especially for senior positions, is to “be responsible for the company’s failure to commit to closing this gap.”

Johnson (Johnson) founded Black Entertainment Television in 1980, Johnson said: “I think there is a way.” More than 20 years later, in 2001, when the holding company of BET was acquired by Viacom , He became the first black billionaire in the United States. He is now a member of the Discovery board of directors and the founder and chairman of RLJ Companies.

Johnson said that one way to resolve accountability for racial differences in employment is to establish it as a goal of the company’s articles of association.

Johnson said: “Shareholders should be accountable to them in the articles of association.” He added that agency consulting companies like Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis could “have unanimous votes on companies that have not promised to vote against.” This racial parity may basically eliminate the employment gap. ”

Johnson said that companies of all sizes should also make commitments similar to the National Football League’s Rooney Rules, which were expanded last year by the league to increase the diversity of its coaching staff.

Since its first adoption in 2003, the team must now interview at least two external minority candidates for chief coaching. In addition, the rules have been expanded to require teams to interview at least one external minority candidate to serve as a public coordinator. Positions; previously there was no diversified mandate covering these roles.

Johnson pointed out that the NFL franchise may be fined for failing to comply with the Rooney Rules. He warned: “I’m not sure if we are going to impose fines on companies because they can easily pay the fines.” “I think there should be some kind of moral equivalence. And it is reported that your stock has failed, which has led some people who believe in this form of racial equality and racial equality to adopt their beliefs. Invest elsewhere.”

Last year, Nasdaq submitted a proposal to the Securities and Exchange Commission that focused on improving diversity among the company’s boards. The exchange operator’s proposal would require most companies to have at least two different board members: a woman and an LGBTQ or underrepresented person.

According to the proposal, if the company fails to release board data, it may eventually delist from the stock exchange. According to the New York Times, in December of last year, more than 75% of the approximately 3,200 companies listed on the Nasdaq failed to meet the requirements.

Johnson had previously made suggestions on how to resolve the racial gap between rich and poor in the United States. In an interview with CNBC earlier this month, Johnson emphasized the need to cultivate black entrepreneurs in the United States through capital allocation plans.

Johnson said: “Black companies usually hire entire blacks, so you create more black companies, and the rebound will bring more black jobs.” “More black jobs means more blacks pay for the house. …Saving for retirement, investing for black people. In the end, we took a big step towards closing the huge gap between rich and poor.”

A Citigroup report last year found that racial inequality has cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion in damages over the past two decades.


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