Sociologist at the University of Connecticut Finds Bias in Hiring at Environmental Organizations

A study authored  by Maya A. Beasley, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, found that nearly 90 percent of the search consultants commonly used to find high-level executives for environmental organizations have encountered bias at the organizations that were seeking new employees.

The report found that 28 percent of nongovernmental organizations in the environmental field require some level of diversity on their short list of candidates for available positions. Only 44 percent of environmental foundations demand a diverse group from which to make a final selection. The result is that approximately 15 percent of the workforce at environmental organizations are people of color and the percentage is lower at the top levels of these organizations.

“What I’d like to emphasize is that the solution is not to take the bias out of people – that doesn’t work,” said Dr. Beasley. “Instead, what we want to work on is minimizing the impact of bias in searches.” Dr. Beasley began teaching at the University of Connecticut in 2006. She is a graduate of Harvard University and holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University.

The full report, Diversity Derailed: Limited Demand, Effort and Results in Environmental C-Suite Searches, can be downloaded by clicking here.


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