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Urban policy -- Oregon -- Portland -- Periodicals, Portland (Or.) -- Politics and government -- Periodicals, Portland (Or.) -- Social conditions -- Periodicals


The Employment Subcommittee was charged to investigate and evaluate the progress of minorities in Portland since 1968 toward equality in employment. Principal findings were:

  • the economic picture had significantly worsened by 1980, with the unemployment rate for most minority groups approximately doubling, or in the case of Native Americans, tripling that of whites,
  • in spite of a greatly expanding minority labor force, employers reported minority underrepresentation in all job categories, particularly in professional, upper management and executive levels,
  • while employers' competitiveness will depend upon a diverse workforce to better respond to an increasingly diverse consumer base, a diverse workforce has not become a priority of most employers interviewed,
  • while models of successful minority recruitment and retention exist, most employers continued to use traditional but ineffective recruitment methods, and fail to mount efforts to retain minority employees or even to recognize the need for such efforts,
  • the need for higher skilled workers will increase in Workforce 2000, yet the increasingly diverse labor market often lacks the required skills. Deficits in basic and advanced skills were perceived as factors which impede both initial hiring and promotability of minorities.

The Subcommittee's primary recommendation is that each employer commit to diversity as a company goal. Each company should assess its current workplace diversity, identify barriers, set goals and develop action plans to overcome the barriers.

Additionally, employers should adopt more effective recruitment methods, insure minority representation in recruiting staffs, address retention of minority employees, and base performance evaluations for managers on meeting minority recruitment and retention goals. Organized groups of employers, such as industry or trade associations, should make workplace diversity a priority.

Lastly, employers and groups of employers should form partnerships with educators to address common deficiencies in basic and advanced skills.

Published in City Club of Portland Bulletin Vol. 73, No. 03

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