Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden
Chapter 17: Minority ethnic careers in professional services firms
This chapter applies the intelligent career competencies framework (knowing whom, knowing why and knowing how) to examine black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees’ trajectories towards partnership in professional services firms. The chapter contributes by demonstrating how career competencies interact and transform through time, influencing professional trajectories via multiple, intersecting diversity dimensions. Minority ethnic professional progress requires the successful acquisition and conversion of career competencies over time. ‘Knowing-how’, dominant in early career, converts into ‘knowing-whom’ (as mentors spot rising stars) and then ‘knowing-why’ (as senior associates start to construct a ‘potential partner’ identity) in later career. However, systemic penalties such as socially disadvantaged early life experiences, mid-career homophily and negative stereotyping can hinder the capital conversion process. The chapter ends with practical recommendations to reduce the impact of social and cultural impediments to talented employees who happen to be outsiders, and formalising the facilitating factors that currently benefit insiders.
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