Asians do better than their numbers would suggest

One minority group that seems to be moving assertively into Greater Boston’s power structure is Asians

One minority group that seems to be moving assertively into Greater Boston’s power structure is Asians. They are making stronger inroads in the workplace than blacks and Hispanics, who outnumber them significantly.

Census data indicate Asians represent 9 percent of Boston’s population, compared to 18 percent for Hispanics and 22 percent for blacks. Despite their smaller numbers, 5 percent of top corporate officials across the Greater Boston region are Asian compared to 3 percent each for blacks and Hispanics, according to federal data.

In high tech, life sciences, financial services, and other industries, Asians outnumber blacks and Hispanics on boards of directors and at the top of the corporate ladder, sometimes by wide margins.

At area colleges, Asians represent 10 percent of the full-time faculty, compared to 3 percent each for blacks and Hispanics. At Harvard, the ratio is similar: 14 percent Asian compared to 3 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black.

In the Boston Globe’s newsroom, Asians represent 10 percent of the newsroom staff, compared to 12 percent for blacks and 5 percent for Hispanics. Among newsroom supervisors, there are seven Asians compared to four blacks and two Hispanics, according to information provided by the Globe. At seven of the largest law firms in Boston, there are 10 Asian partners, compared to four black partners and seven Hispanic partners. At the associate level, there are 62 Asians, 23 blacks, and 20 Hispanics.

“When you talk about diversity at law firms, Asians make up the largest percentage of minorities,” says Wendell Taylor, a black partner at WilmerHale. “At the same time, blacks and Hispanics are significantly lagging behind.”

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Meet the Author
One area where Asians have not pulled ahead of blacks and Hispanics in employment is state and city government. In both places, Asians represent a much smaller percentage of the workforce than the other two groups.

The US Census defines an Asian as a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.