Friday, September 7, 2018

Brookings Announces Huge Diversity Push at Think Tank

This week, the center-left think tank Brookings Institution announced it will for the first time make its workforce demographic data publicly available on an annual basis.  Here is more from Brookings:

As of July 2018, 52 percent of all 444 full-time Brookings employees were women and 32 percent were people of color.  Among fellows and senior fellows, however, the gender and racial breakdowns were not where we want them to be. Only 34 percent of our fellows were female and just 22 percent of our fellows were people of color.  Diversity among staff in research support positions—including research assistants and analysts—was slightly better. Overall, the highest percentages of women and people of color at Brookings are in operational positions.

Brookings' entire demographic data is available here.  The data show that 68% of Brookings employees are white, 13% are black or African American, 10% are Asian, and 5% are Hispanic or Latino.

As for generational representation, 51% are Millennials (born between 1981-1996), 30% are Generation X (1965-1980), 17% are Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and 2% are in the Silent Generation (1928-1945).

As for the think tank's leadership team (which includes the president, executive vice president, and vice presidents), 75% are white, 17% are Asian, and 8% are black or African American.

As for fellows and senior fellows, 78% are white, 9% are Asian, 8% are black or African American, and 3% are Hispanic or Latino.

In terms of research assistants, research analysts, and research associates, 65% are white, 19% are Asian, 5% are Hispanic or Latino, and 3% are black or African American.

In addition to publishing all the demographics data, Brookings say it is:
  • Convening an Inclusion and Diversity Committee with representation from across the Institution charged with creating a strategic implementation plan.
  • Cultivating relationships with diverse colleges, fellowship programs and associations in order to attract diverse applicant pools for research positions.
  • Examining more ways it can influence the pipeline of future employees by encouraging the pursuit of Ph.D.s in disciplines with the fewest number of women and people of color.

Here is Brookings' Board of Trustees demographics.  Here is a literature review by the think tank's Inclusion and Diversity Committee on the case for diversity at Brookings.

Brookings President John Allen says that since 2015, Brookings has seen a 47% decline in all-male panels at the think tank.

The Brookings moves come after years of negative press the think tank has received related to various pay-to-play schemes.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on a group highlighting diversity problems at think tanks.

Here is a link to a 2015 event sponsored by the Wilson Center and Urban Institute on promoting diversity at US think tanks.