Study: Workplaces Increasingly Segregated, Dominated By White Men

Mad Men office white men
Mad Men office white men

Nearly 50 years ago the U.S. passed the Civil Rights Act, outlawing segregation and banning gender and race discrimination, and in so doing, it remade the country forever.

But on the score of creating a more equal and integrated workplace, how has the country actually fared? How much has really changed?

Not nearly as much as you might think, according to a meticulously-researched new book by sociology professors Kevin Stainback of Purdue University, and Donald Tomaskovic-Deveym of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Their book, Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act, analyzes data from 5 million private-sector workplaces from 1966 to 2005, and it finds that while upper management has become more diverse (with the number of white men in its ranks going from 93 percent to 54 percent), in many ways the workplace is still stuck in the "Mad Men" era.

Two major findings:

  • In spite of much hand-wringing in the media about the "decline of men," the truth is that white men still dominate the management ranks.

  • Workplace segregation, of both men and women and whites and blacks, is actually increasing in many sectors.

Employers "still expect [white] men to be in the managerial jobs," says Tomaskovic-Devey.