Byline: Joanna Ramey

WASHINGTON — Retailers have a better record than many other businesses in moving minorities and women into management positions, according to a new Labor Department report.
However, the report being released Thursday by Labor’s Glass Ceiling Commission points out that in industry generally, barriers to advancement for minorities and women remain pervasive.
According to the 243-page report, the retail trade now has the largest percentage of management jobs held by minorities, 13 percent, followed by the transportation, communications and public utilities sector, with 12 percent. At manufacturers, 0.8 percent of the managers were minorities.
As for females in management jobs, retailing, which has a high percentage of women employees overall, comes in second with 38.5 percent. The finance, insurance and real-estate sector employs the highest percentage of women managers, or 41.4 percent.
The manufacturing sector has 15.9 percent of its management slots filled by women.
The report also singles out J.C. Penney Co. and Avon Products as among several companies with policies promoting diversity. Patricia Asip, Penney’s manager of multi-cultural affairs, is a one the 20-member commission that authored the report.
The study points out that diversity can strengthen a company’s knowledge of ethnic markets.
An unidentified retail chief executive at a large national chain is also quoted in the report as hitting out at the stereotypic male dominance that marks a lot of business.
“The old-line companies are run by the white ’46 long’ guys who practice inappropriate male rituals that are dysfunctional to business,” he said. “Male bonding through hunting, fishing and sports talk is irrelevant to business. Too much so-called strategic planning takes place after the bars close — that kind of male fellowship ritual is irrelevant to business.” — Fairchild News Service