Research by Assistant Professors Jennifer Merluzzi (Tulane) and Adina Sterling (Stanford) studied promotions in a sales business over a 10 year period and found that both women and Blacks experienced statistically fewer promotions than whites and males. However, they did find that Blacks who were hired through a referral by another employee had higher promotion rates (though not high enough to close the gap to whites.) There was, however, no positive effect for women being hired through referrals. Other research has shown that when a respected individual vouches for the capabilities and competence of a diverse employee, performance is assessed more positively, indicating bias has been disrupted. It is possible a similar effect is being observed in this study.
Research: Black Employees Are More Likely to Be Promoted When They Were Referred by Another Employee