Asian-Americans passed over for leadership positions in tech sector


A recent study found Asians are less likely to be named to executive boards than women.

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BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

A recent study found Asian Americans are less likely to be named to executive boards of major tech companies.

Asians account for more than 25 percent of tech professionals, OregonLive.com reports.

Yet just 17 percent of Intel’s executives are Asian. And the percentages fall the higher you go in the chipmaker’s hierarchy: Just two of Intel’s top 20 executives are Asian or of Asian descent, and just one of its 11 board members is Asian. The story is similar at all the companies Ascend studied (the others are Google, Hewlett-Packard Co., LinkedIn and Yahoo.) Ascend says its mission is “to educate, advocate, and enable Pan-Asian business leaders to reach their full potential.”

The study’s authors, themselves tech industry veterans, say the underrepresentation of Asian Americans reflects an “expectations gap” drawn from prevailing stereotypes – as well as some Asian workers own attitudes about themselves. Janet Wong, a retired partner with the accounting firm KPMG, is a third generation Chinese American who spent years working with big tech companies. Growing up, Wong said, her parents and grandparents taught her that “being technically smarter” would be all she’d need to be successful.

A former Cisco employee who helped conduct the study hoped the findings would spur Intel to “look inside” and make changes.

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