SOURCE: Kenexa

February 25, 2009 11:00 ET

Kenexa Research Institute Discovers That Equal Opportunity Isn't Always Equal

African American Workers Report Less Opportunities for Advancement

WAYNE, PA--(Marketwire - February 25, 2009) - The Kenexa Research Institute (KRI) recently released results of a survey of American workers that explored employees' feelings of equal opportunity in the workplace. In its 2008 WorkTrends™ Report, KRI found that in the United States, there are distinctions across certain job categories and management levels based on racial-ethnic origin.

According to the WorkTrends data, Asian Americans are more likely to occupy knowledge-based jobs such as professional, technical and managerial positions while African Americans are more likely to occupy clerical and laborer roles.

When responding to questions specific to their company's culture, both Caucasians and Asian Americans feel more favorably than African Americans that their company enables people from diverse backgrounds to excel. For advancement and development opportunities within their company, Caucasians and Asian Americans also respond more favorably than African Americans do.

This research further indicates that the industry in which one works matters. While satisfaction with opportunities for advancement varies little for Caucasian Americans, for African Americans industry differences are significant. African Americans are most satisfied in the healthcare services industry (68%) but least satisfied in government (50%). Asian Americans in the education industry reported the highest level of satisfaction with career advancement opportunities (89%).

"These results also indicate that minority workers perceive the potential for equal advancement opportunity differently depending on the region of the United States in which they work. We found the widest range of opinion on equal opportunity for advancement in the Midwest. In that region, Asian Americans clearly report the strongest support and Caucasians are more favorable by a margin of ten percentage points than are African Americans," said Jack Wiley, executive director, Kenexa Research Institute.

In terms of pay, more than half of all surveyed employees -- regardless of ethnicity -- feel they are paid fairly, but there are differences by ethnicity. Only 13% of Asian Americans feel they are paid unfairly, compared to 32% of Native Americans and 28% of African Americans.

About WorkTrends™

The Kenexa WorkTrends database is a comprehensive normative database of employee opinions on topics including leadership, employee engagement and customer orientation. Comparisons are available for workers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Kenexa

Kenexa (NASDAQ: KNXA) is a global leader in building the world's greatest workforces using a combination of software, employee research science and business process optimization. Kenexa's global solutions include applicant tracking, onboarding, recruitment process outsourcing, employment branding, skills and behavioral assessments, structured interviews, performance management, multi-rater feedback surveys, employee engagement surveys and HR Analytics. Kenexa is headquartered in Wayne, Pa. (outside Philadelphia). Additional information about Kenexa and its global products and services can be accessed at www.kenexa.com.