Qualitative Research on Barriers to Workplace Inclusion for First Generation Professionals

Terry & Fobia, 2019 / Center for Behavioral Science Methods Research and Methodology Directorate, U.S. Census Bureau / May 2019

The Office of Civil Rights, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, oversees efforts to identify and eliminate barriers to workplace inclusion based on protected diversity characteristics, such as race and gender. In an interagency project between the Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Census Bureau, the Census Bureau’s Center for Behavioral Science Methods conducted focus groups and qualitative interviews to investigate potential barriers to workplace inclusion for First Generation Professionals (FGPs), or professional employees who are the first in their immediate families to hold a white-collar professional position. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether socio-economic status (SES) may also be a diversity characteristic for which there are barriers to inclusion for employees from low SES backgrounds. Five focus groups were conducted with a total of 29 FGPs (four groups with non-supervisory staff, one with supervisory staff). Thirteen people, all supervisory staff, participated in the qualitative interviews, and five were FGPs.