While Asian-Americans are largely represented in higher-education, they are significantly underrepresented in the managerial workforce.
That’s in part due to a phenomenon known as the “bamboo ceiling,” a term coined by Jane Hyun back in 2005 describing the invisible obstacle Asian-Americans face in the labor market despite outperforming other minorities and white people in education.
It’s also the topic of a forthcoming article in the Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies entitled “Revisiting the Asian second-generation advantage.” The study, conducted by three professors at Columbia University, found that Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Vietnamese and Koreans are more likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than white Americans. Similarly, a Pew Research study in 2017 found 51% of Asian-Americans 25 years or older have a bachelor’s degree or more compared to 30% of all Americans in the same age group.
Yet, these numbers drop when Asian-Americans make their way into the labor market-- evidence of what the study identifies as an attainment gap. In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, two of the study authors argued that affirmative action could be beneficial for bridging Asian-Americans’ limits in the workforce, despite recent anti-affirmative action sentiment spotlighted by a Harvard lawsuit filed by Students for Fair Admission in 2014.
Larry discusses the study with two of its authors.
Van C. Tran, assistant professor of sociology at Columbia University and lead author of the forthcoming article “Revisiting the Asian second-generation advantage” in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies
Jennifer Lee, professor of sociology at Columbia University and co-author of the forthcoming article “Revisiting the Asian second-generation advantage” in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies