Improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace represents a major pillar in the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM's) mission to enhance the HR profession.
SHRM has taken another step to support this vision.
On Feb. 24, the organization announced its commitment to support minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs). The fund invests in minority entrepreneurs who are developing innovative products and services, growing these businesses and closing the racial pay gap.
"HR professionals know equal access to jobs is a critical component of the fight to eliminate racial disparities in America. But we must also ensure Black entrepreneurs have access to critical capital so they, themselves, can become job creators," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer. "SHRM's support of minority-owned business enterprises demonstrates our commitment to address barriers and to help close the racial wealth gap so everyone has the opportunity to thrive equally. The push for inclusion and business equity is ongoing and must include everyone."
The fund is led in partnership between Advantage Capital and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Business Consortium Fund (BCF). Since 1992, Advanced Capital has invested more than $3 billion in companies from a diverse array of industry sectors and has helped support more than 50,000 jobs. BCF is America's most comprehensive financing and consulting support organization serving minority-owned businesses.
"We believe the best way to close the racial wealth gap and create true financial inclusion is to invest in entrepreneurs of color," said Henry Childs, chief fund manager for the NMSDC Business Consortium Fund. "Our investments through this fund will fill the gaps and remove the barriers to financial freedom for minority-owned enterprises and the communities they serve."
Despite the U.S. Census Bureau projecting a minority majority by 2050, white men generally dominate the upper echelons of the pay scale. Black families' median and mean wealth is less than 15 percent of white families', according to a 2020 report by The Federal Reserve.
A 2021 SHRM report, Bridging the Pay Gap: Why Pay Equity Pays Off, indicated that about 1 in 4 workers have been in situations where they found out someone of a different gender, race or ethnicity at their company was paid more than them, despite performing the same job and having the same level of experience.
About 1 in 5 workers who found out they were being paid less than a colleague of a different gender or race said they talked to other employees about the pay difference, the report found. More than 1 in 4 started looking for a new job.
In 2021, SHRM published an article in HR Magazine, "How to Ensure Pay Equity for People of Color," outlining ways companies can ensure pay equity for minority workers.
The MBE fund anticipates it will start distributing capital to support minority-owned businesses in the next few months.