Progress Toward our Goal: Racial Diversity in the Email Industry, United States


Our goal is to have the diversity in the US email industry match that of the United States (US) census by January 2025. Won't you help us by taking the 2022 Racial Diversity in the Email Industry Survey? It's open through October 31, 2022 (we extended it), covering the US, UK, and the world. Takes just 5 minutes; come with the racial mix of your company or team and its leadership.  

So how did the US email industry fare in the 2021 survey? The results are mixed.

10 Jenningss US comp team avgThe percentage of white people at the average company remains higher than the census data, 68% compared to 62%. It is also higher than the 2020 survey, 68% compared to 65%.

As we saw last year, those of Asian descent are well-represented in the industry. Asians make up 9% of employees in the average US company, compared to 6% of the population. This is a slight decrease from 2020, when the figure was 11%.

Those of mixed race are also well-represented, holding 6% of positions in the average US email company, compared to being just 1% of the US population.

But Black people and those of Hispanic descent don’t fare as well. Black people make up just 10% of the average email company in the US, even though they are 12% of the population. On a positive note, this 10% is higher than the 9% representation we saw in the 2020 survey.

Those of Hispanic descent make up 7% of the average email company in the US, lagging their 19% stake in the US population. While there has been movement in our survey results between this year and last, it hasn’t necessarily been forward motion. We still have some work to do here.

10 Jennings US comp team mediansLooking at the median and average percentages of non-white employees in US email companies, we are also seeing movement but not necessarily forward motion.

This year, in the 2021 survey results (chart middle right, dark orange borders), we seem to have moved backward. The average decreased a bit; it was 32% in 2021, down from 35% in 2020 (chart bottom right, pale orange borders).

The median also shifted – it is at 28% in 2021, compared to 35% in 2020.

A quick refresher on average (means) and medians. An average adds up the data and divides it by the number of data points. The median shows us the point in the data where there are as many values above it as there are below it. The median adjusts the data so that it’s not skewed by companies with very high or very low diversity.

In 2020 we had a perfect correlation between average and median, meaning that the average wasn’t being skewed.  

But when the median is below the average that means that there are there are highly diverse ‘outlier’ companies which are moving the average higher. Here the median is being pulled down by the large number of companies with no non-white employees (see the tall bar at the left of the chart over the ‘0%’).  

So, the US email industry is less diverse than it was last year.

One caveat – the companies answering the survey in 2021 were not the same companies answering in 2020, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. In addition, we had a larger number of responses in 2021, which is another reason the data may have shifted.

Nonetheless, we’ll be watching this closely in future surveys, as we work to reach our goal of a more diverse email industry.  

10 Jennings US leadership avgWe also wanted to revisit diversity in leadership roles in US email organizations.

US email companies still have a higher percentage of white people in leadership positions than we see in the census. That figure is 73% in our 2021 survey (chart middle right, dark orange borders) compared to 62% of the population (chart top right, grey borders). The 2021 figure is exactly the same as the 2020 figure.

Asians and those of Mixed/Other backgrounds tend to be more prevalent in leadership roles than in the population as a whole. Asians are now in 10% of the top roles in the average email company, while they make up just 6% of the population according to the census. This is up from 7% in 2020.

Those of Mixed/Other backgrounds make up 4% of the top jobs in our industry, compared to 1% of the US population. This 4% is a decrease from last year’s survey, where the figure was 13%.

Black people in email leadership still lag the census data (9% compared to 12%), but this 12% is an increase from the 2020 survey figure of 5%.

Those of Hispanic descent hold just 4% of email industry top jobs, even though they make up 19% of the US population. That said, the 4% is double the 2% figure from 2020, so that is some progress.

Once again, we see that we still have some work to do.

10 Jennings US Leadership mediansLooking at the median and average percentages of non-whites in leadership roles, we see the magnitude of the issue.

This year’s average (chart middle right, dark orange borders) is 27%, the same as last year’s average (chart bottom right, pale orange borders).

But the median has dropped dramatically; this year it’s at 0%, while the 2020 survey had it at 10%.

Last year the median was 10%, while the average was 27% (top right chart, grey background). You can see that many companies had no people-of-color in leadership (the tall bar at the left), but there was some distribution of companies with higher percentages of non-whites in leadership roles.

This year things look even worse (middle right chart). The median has fallen to 0%, while the average has remained steady at 27%. The median shows us the number in the middle of the range, so there are just as many – or more – companies with no people-of-color in leadership roles as there are companies with some people-of-color at the highest levels.

Not all the same companies answered both surveys, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it’s still concerning and something we’ll be watching as we work toward our goal of a more diverse email industry.

Editor's Note: This was originally published as part of the 2022 Benchmark Report: Racial Diversity in the Email Industry, by Only Influencers, based on data from the 2021 Email Industry Diversity Survey. 

The 2022 Racial Diversity in the Email Industry Survey is now open, through October 31st (we extended it). Won't you take 5 minutes to tell us about the racial mix of your company or team and its leadership? We're reporting on the US, the UK, and the World -- but we need your help! Thanks in advance. 

clay banks LjqARJaJotc unsplash 600Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash