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Impact Report

Achieving More Equitable Economic and Societal Outcomes

Achieving More Equitable Economic and Societal Outcomes

We are helping organizations address systemic barriers based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other identity markers that can create unequal starting points and, in turn, inequitable economic and societal outcomes.

The Challenge

While talent and potential can be found anywhere, opportunity and the chance to flourish are not. We see the evidence of this in highly unequal economic and societal outcomes—from earnings and wealth, to professional achievement, to access to quality healthcare and higher education, among other examples. These disparities are frequently the result of structural, systemic barriers. In the United States, for example, the median Black household has a net worth of less than $4,000, a fraction of the median white family’s $147,000 net worth, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. In India, despite broad economic growth, women’s participation in the labor force has stagnated, and their rate of business ownership lags that of peers in high-performing economies.

Our Approach

To confront these inequities, we are taking new approaches, such as mobilizing broad-based cross-sector coalitions to help close the wealth gap for Black Americans and promote female economic empowerment in India. We continue to build enduring relationships to strengthen the reach and effectiveness of leading organizations supporting refugees. And we are working with our corporate clients to help them contribute to progress as well, including by embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies and practices aimed at building not only stronger organizations but also stronger communities.

UN Sustainable Development Goals This Work Supports

UN Sustainable Development Goals This Work Supports

One Million Jobs in 10 Years

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Ken Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, assembled a small group of CEOs, including Ken Chenault, the former CEO of American Express and a Bain alumnus, to brainstorm ways to address the systemic injustices facing Black people in America. Frazier’s vision: that this group, leveraging their collective, powerful leadership, could help address the economic disparities that disproportionately disadvantage communities of color. With Bain’s support—including our CEO, Manny Maceda, joining the group as a founding member—Frazier’s vision has become OneTen.

OneTen’s Bold Ambition: One Million Jobs for Black Americans over 10 Years

OneTen’s Bold Ambition: One Million Jobs for Black Americans over 10 Years

Bain's Manny Maceda and OneTen’s Ken Frazier discuss the organization’s goal to overcome the systemic barriers facing Black talent.

View the webinar
OneTen’s Bold Ambition: One Million Jobs for Black Americans over 10 Years

Bain's Manny Maceda and OneTen’s Ken Frazier discuss the organization’s goal to overcome the systemic barriers facing Black talent.

View the webinar

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, the median Black family in the United States has a net worth of less than $4,000, a fraction of the median white family’s $147,000 net worth. This inequity is perpetuated by the fact that approximately 70% to 80% of family-sustaining jobs—those with annual wages between $40,000 and $60,000, or more—require a four-year college degree. This is a key barrier for many Black Americans, 76% of whom do not have a four-year degree (compared with 66% of white Americans), according to the US Census Bureau.

The OneTen solution: Change the human capital paradigm in the US to one that is more skills oriented, allowing talented individuals to enjoy the dignity and financial stability that a thriving career can offer. CEO-led, OneTen has committed to working toward the hiring, promotion, and advancement of 1 million Black individuals without a four-year degree into family-sustaining careers over the next 10 years.

The leaders of the more than 45 member companies have pledged to:

  • significantly increase their hiring of Black talent without four-year degrees;
  • improve their retention and advancement practices in order to support diverse talent;
  • identify and share best practices across the coalition; and
  • contribute more than $100 million, collectively, to launch the OneTen organization and foster the necessary national and local ecosystems.

Bain, together with The Bridgespan Group, has supported OneTen from the initial recruiting of member companies to launching operations in a way that will enable the organization to make meaningful progress on its mission in the first year.

A core tenet of OneTen is helping employer members change the credentials for jobs that currently require a four-year degree but could be better served by other modes of training, including those focused on developing specific skills. A college degree is inherently valuable and warranted in many roles, but it should not be the only screening device or a proxy for the hard and soft skills needed in the workplace. Making it a requirement for most family-sustaining jobs needlessly limits the pool of skilled candidates, and as an approach, it’s outdated. The tech industry, for example, has long embraced a skills-first approach, hiring coders and others for their abilities, not their level of education.

At IBM, whose former CEO Ginni Rometty is also OneTen’s cochair, 50% of US jobs no longer require four-year degrees. The coalition works to codify best practices, like IBM’s skills-first hiring, and ensure they are shared across industries, helping members greatly reduce over the next 10 years the percentage of their family-sustaining jobs that require a four-year degree.

There are many organizations devoted to helping companies find a supply of Black talent in the United States today, but few are doing this at scale. “This is about careers, not just entry-level jobs,” says Frazier.

Corporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We support individual clients on the journey to sustainably improve their DEI practices with all stakeholders, including their talent, marketplace, suppliers, and communities. Recently we spent several months with a global private equity fund, defining their DEI ambition and how they would help their more than 30 portfolio companies in North America make progress in that area. To begin, we explored the private equity firm’s starting point, goals, and perspective, as well as the approach it wanted to take with portfolio companies. We then conducted an in-depth listening tour with all portfolio company CEOs, invited their chief human resources officers to a cross-portfolio forum, and piloted several tools and resources.

The biggest takeaway: Even companies that had already been quite active in their journeys were able to identify many opportunities to further their DEI objectives. We left the fund with a pragmatic toolkit to support progress, including a survey tool to assess each portfolio company’s starting point on representation, attrition, and employee Net Promoter ScoreSM, as well as specific guidance on how to accelerate momentum in priority areas. Now the firm is mobilizing around its goal for DEI: to meet each portfolio company and individual leader where they are and leverage practical tools to advance DEI progress.

One by one, as companies progress on these measures, they become more attractive employers for top talent and reap the benefits of high-performing, diverse teams, setting themselves up to be more competitive in the long run. Ultimately, stronger, more inclusive companies will help build stronger, more inclusive communities.

Powering the Economy with Her: Women Entrepreneurship in India

India’s economic growth story has left women behind. This report presents four opportunities for unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurship.

Read more

Refugee Support

Today, there are 80 million forcibly displaced people around the world, a record high. But the challenges for refugees aren’t only surviving war and conflict until they can return home. Many will have to rebuild their lives in a foreign place and integrate into new communities. They will face countless new challenges as they navigate unfamiliar environments as outsiders, with few supports.

Our partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is our longest-running pro bono work on this issue. In 2021, UNHCR estimates it will need $8.6 billion to meet its broad mandate: not only to provide life-saving support on the ground but also assistance with asylum application, resettlement, and integration. Our work over the years has focused on strengthening the organization, from diversifying funding sources, to building private-sector partnerships, to enhancing its operating model.

Most recently we are supporting an enterprise technology transformation designed to meaningfully improve the efficiency of key processes and systems—among them, data digitalization, human resources, and risk management. This transformation, once completed, will enable UNHCR to focus more resources and energy on its critical work helping refugees and the displaced restart their lives.

Net Promoter SystemSM is a service mark of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.