Minorities have a harder time networking

Applicants wait to meet potential employers at a Manhattan job fair in New York City.

Networking is a fact of life in the business world. Some research, from Rutgers University business professor Nancy DiTomaso, revealed that 70 percent of the jobs that people get in their lifetime come with some type of additional help.

"[Such as] someone who could give them information that other people didn't have, could use influence on their behalf, such as 'this is my friend, look out for them,' or someone who could actually give them an opportunity or hire them for a job," DiTomaso says. "So if Hispanics or blacks or others have higher unemployment rates, it may not be that they aren't networking, it may be that they don't have networks that tie them into where there are job opportunities."

DiTomaso explores that issue in her book, "The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism."

"It's not going to change unless there's attention on the public policy level in terms of how organizations think about the decision-making that takes place within their entities," DiTomaso says. "Everyone I talked to claimed to believe in civil rights... they all think that equal opportunity is the solution."

"But everybody that I talked to spent their lives seeking unequal opportunity."


The South by Southwest festival bills itself as "A Paradise for Networking." That's why everyone from musicians to app developers to bloggers flock to Austin, Texas.

The networking takes place in the hotel lobbies and the bars across the city -- but it also goes on during the conference's famous panels that grapple with a lot of the most cutting edge questions. Marketplace Tech will be broadcasting from Texas all next week reporting on the technology industry's hype machine.

 

About the author

David Lazarus is an American business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

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