The ParityMODEL™ for People of Color in Leadership

Diverse group of professionals around a table

People of color are underrepresented at the top.

They comprise roughly 40% of the U.S. population and 31% of entry-level corporate workers, yet occupy just 17% of C-Suite positions. And research indicates that the gap is due largely to bias and discrimination, not to an insufficient pipeline of qualified talent.  

  • Companies are more than twice as likely to call minority applicants for interviews if they submit “whitened” resumes.

  • People of color suffer from a “worse perception of leadership potential” than their white counterparts.

  • They are more likely to be assigned office “housework” tasks as opposed to higher-profile stretch assignments that are likely to fuel career advancement.

  • And fewer than a third of Black professionals say that they have access to senior leaders at work, compared to nearly half of white professionals.

These and other compounding factors mean that far fewer people of color make it into management and onto the path to more senior leadership roles.

Brookings, The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, 2020; Gartner, Leadership Progression and Diversity Study, 2021; Equilar Corporate Leadership Data, 2021; McKinsey, Women in the Workplace, 2022; Harvard Business Review, For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly, 2018; Coqual, Being Black in Corporate America, An Intersectional Exploration, 2019

The case for change is clear.

Having more people of color in organizational leadership (ideally 40%, at parity with the U.S. population) leads to better decision-making, innovation, and financial performance. 

  • Diverse teams have been shown to make better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time–and they do it twice as fast and with outcomes up to 60% better.

  • Companies with diverse management teams generate 45% of their total revenue from innovation compared to just 26% of revenue from those lacking diverse leadership.

  • And those with culturally and ethnically diverse executive teams are 35% more likely to see above-average profits, while those with diverse Boards are 43% more likely to see above-average profits.

Further, having people of color in leadership helps to attract and retain people of color at all levels of the organization, which ensures a healthy pipeline of future leaders.

Cloverpop, Hacking Diversity Inclusive Decision Making; Boston Consulting Group, How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation, 2018; McKinsey & Company, Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters, 2020

A practical, evidence-based roadmap for getting there.

The Parity.Org ParityMODEL for People of Color in Leadership is based on extensive research and in-depth conversations with organizations that have not only reached–but sustained–racial parity in leadership. Our proprietary framework, organized around three key pillars (Representation, Equality, and Inclusion), empowers you with insight into the specific policies, practices, and approaches that the most successful companies employ to ensure that people of color have equal opportunities to advance and succeed.

The ParityMODEL for People of Color in Leadership was made possible with generous underwriting from:

A framework built on three pillars.



Leadership Representation

Horizontal Representation

Vertical Representation



Equality in Hiring

Equality in Compensation & Benefits

Equality in Advancement Opportunities



Inclusion through Action

Inclusion through Benefits

Inclusion through Policies

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama