Study: Most Asian Americans Don't Feel 'Sense of Belonging' in US Corporate Culture

A new Asia Society fills a critical information gap relating to the growth, development and advancement of Asian Pacific American employees. (2012 APA Corporate Report)

A new Asia Society study shows that despite Asian Pacific Americans demonstrating amazingly high loyalty to their employers, many still don’t feel a “sense of belonging” in corporate America.

The findings are visible in stark contrast in the charts above, with dissatisfaction among APA employees far below their readiness to invest in the company. Of nearly 2,000 APAs surveyed at Fortune 500 companies, 89 percent say they care about the future of the company, but less than half feel part of the organization, according to the 2012 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey.

One reason for this dichotomy could be the lack of APA’s in upper-management, the survey found, with only 42 percent of participants seeing APA role models in senior positions. This absence of senior APA executives may be sending an unintended “not welcome” signal to up and coming employees.

Compounding this effect, only 39 percent of APA employees surveyed said that they have a mentor or sponsor, to help them negotiate company politics. So many are missing out on the career nurturing effects of establishing and building these relationships.

With recent U.S. census data showing that Asian Pacific American communities are growing across America — not to mention the global economic importance of Asia itself — the survey suggests smart companies must do more now to integrate the APA employee base. Until APAs genuinely feel they belong in Corporate America, it will be very difficult for companies to fully realize their potential.

The 2012 Asian Pacific Americans Corporate Survey was released at this year’s Diversity Leadership Forum and Awards Ceremony, where business leaders will address key diversity and inclusion issues in both the U.S. and Asia.

For more information about receiving the full results of the survey contact Jonathan Saw at

About the Author

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Jonathan Saw is Asia Society’s Senior Asian Pacific American Research Advisor.