Over 35 Percent of Black Women Professionals Haven’t Received Promotions Since 2010 Due to Lack of Executive Sponsorship

New Study from League of Black Women Identifies Lack of Promotions and Resources for Strategic Career Mobility As Key Barriers for Black Women in the Workplace

CHICAGO – May 18, 2015 – Since 2010, over 35 percent of Black women professionals haven’t received promotions, leading to high levels of career dissatisfaction. The primary culprit is the lack of sponsorship – over 72 percent of Black women professionals don’t have access to influential senior leaders within corporations that can publicly endorse Black women protégés. These are among the key findings of the Daughters of the Dream study today released by the League of Black Women, a global, not-for-profit organization founded in 1970 by civil rights advocate and educator Dr. Arnita Young Boswell.

The study, now in its third edition, includes responses from a representative pool of 273 Black women professionals across the nation. Other key findings from the study include:

  • Black women aren’t being coached to have documented career plans. Over 50 percent of Black women surveyed don’t have a written career plan outlining specific goals and strategies to meet desired objectives including access to required institutional leadership resources, including access to coaching, stretch assignments and management education.
  • Black women aren’t being promoted. Only 39 percent of survey respondents have only been promoted once in the last five years. A significant number (35.1 percent) have never received promotions in that time period.
  • Black women are growing more dissatisfied with their career advancement. Only 17% percent of Black women surveyed reported that they were satisfied with the rate of their career advancement.

“What our research puts forth for the first time is a clear connection between the suppression of career advancement amongst today’s Black women professionals and the lack of standard resources, made available for this demographic, that are critical for advancement,” said Sandra Finley, President & CEO, League of Black Women. “In a reality where Black women aren’t being promoted in their careers, there is a clear opportunity for sponsors to pull them up through the ranks, conferring organizational access to the tools and time honored institutional advocacy.”

Daughters of the Dream: The State of Black Women in Today’s Workplace reveals institutional practices impeding advancement for Black women professionals and details actionable strategies senior leaders can take to intervene to create more opportunities for scalable career advancement. The study will be a focal point in the League of Black Women’s 12th Annual Global Leadership Conference, which takes place May 18th - 20th in Chicago Hyatt Regency O’Hare. To learn more about this research and conference, please visit or email at

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