Asian Pacific Americans’ Job Satisfaction Levels On The Rise; Yet, Sense of Belonging Lags Behind

10 Jun 2013
By Asia Society
Fastest growing population prefer companies that embrace their unique attributes

New York, June 10, 2013 – Asia Society, a leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships among the United States and Asia, issued today its fourth annual Asian Pacific Americans (APA) Corporate Survey at its Diversity Leadership Forum in New York. The study surveyed employees from Fortune 500 companies to measure the sentiments of Asian Pacific American employees. Asian Pacific Americans comprise close to 5 percent of the U.S. population and up to 13 percent in some critical U.S. states like California.

The survey found that although overall job satisfaction levels continue to increase, APAs do not always feel a sense of belonging in corporate America. Sixty-one percent of APAs feel good about growth and development prospects, a four point percentage increase compared to last year. However, more than 40 percent say they either don’t feel a sense of belonging as an APA employee of their company or they are indifferent.

Additionally, less than half of APA employees indicate that their company offers mentoring sponsorship and career coaching programs tailored to them, pointing to the need for corporate America to invest more in developing programs that address the needs of this group.

“APAs bring with them a unique cultural heritage,” said Mike Kulma of Asia Society. “Companies need to dedicate more resources to training and grooming this high-potential group so they can effectively seize leadership opportunities as they grow into their careers.”

According to the findings of the survey, a company’s support and accommodation of APAs’ cultural and religious needs is the number one driver of engagement—ranked higher than career growth prospects—among this group. Similarly, when it comes to satisfaction at the workplace, APAs indicate that what matters the most is the recognition and acceptance of their individual beliefs as well as strengths and skills. Professional growth opportunities and focus on diversity initiatives are second and third in terms of what drives satisfaction.

“Fifty percent of the APA population over the age of 25 has a bachelor’s degree and 20.7 percent has a professional degree, both nearly double the U.S. average,” continued Mike Kulma. “Their overall job satisfaction and engagement are critical to the success of U.S. businesses. As Asia Society’s survey proves, cultural and religious acceptance is the main driver of engagement among this group. As such, organizations with a strong focus on supporting and embracing the unique attributes of this group are bound to rise to the top as preferred employers among APAs.”

The survey also revealed that companies are not fully leveraging the expertise and background of APAs in engaging with APA customers or customers from Asia: Only about half (54 percent) of APAs say that their companies draw on them to engage APA customers or customers from Asia.

“Asian Pacific Americans are the fastest growing and highly-educated segment of the U.S. population, with a 46 percent growth in the last decade alone. Given the background and knowledge of Asian Pacific Americans, businesses are likely missing an opportunity by not leveraging them more broadly in engaging with customers from similar backgrounds,” concluded Subha Barry, Diversity Expert and Board Chair, Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

In conjunction with the Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey, Asia Society also conducted an annual ranking of top employers that demonstrate a commitment to APA employees and their success. Winners of this ranking will be announced at the Diversity Leadership Forum today. Finalist companies include Cisco, Dell, Colgate-Palmolive, GE, and Goldman Sachs.

About the Asia Society

Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders and institutions of the United States and Asia. The Society seeks to increase knowledge and enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.

Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

Asia Society is on the web at www.AsiaSociety.org