As part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s ongoing Anti-Racism work, and in an earnest desire for transparency, in this blog post we are sharing the results of our annual staff demographics reporting. This data is accompanied by a Q&A with Christine Moss, director of human resources, and Megan Chin, staffing coordinator, in which they share key takeaways and plans for implementing changes and improvements to hiring practices, as well as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s ongoing efforts to care for and support all staff. Lindsay Ganter, special projects manager, and Francisco Rosas, internal communications and content project manager, conducted the interview.
You recently conducted an analysis of staff demographics, which we are sharing in this article. Can you tell us about that process?
The Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity requires annual reporting on workplace demographics, which we comply with. We collect self reported demographic data, and this is not a new process. What is new, is that as an institution, in an effort to understand our workforce and to ensure we are moving toward more representative museums, we took a deeper dive into staff demographics—going beyond simply knowing what they are and taking a closer look into what types of positions we hire people. This happened last summer, both as a result of the reckoning occurring on the national stage in response to the continued violence toward Black people across the country, and to continue the work we had begun in 2017 with the Museums’ Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Committee, and recognizing that staff diversity (or lack thereof) is an issue we need to face.
What kind of data did you use to conduct your analysis?
Because the FAMSF staff is made up of both Civil Service (City) and private nonprofit (COFAM) employees, it was important to quantify and come to terms with the fact that we are absolutely lacking in representation of BIPOC staff in our management and industry-specific positions. Another facet to this work is the project we have undertaken with the Office of Racial Equity in the City, which in part focuses on how to create career paths and opportunities for our employees of color, and how they feel represented by the leadership of the Museums. Through this critical work, and by engaging with this key group of staff, we were able to unveil some of the major issues that seem to be holding us back: communication, listening, and resource equity.
Read our Racial Equity Action Plan for the City.
What is captured in the data shared in this post? And what is the impetus behind sharing this data?
The key takeaways of the charts are that the majority of our BIPOC representation is within our City staff, in positions that have some inherent barriers to advancement, and that our COFAM staff is severely underrepresented by people of color. It’s also apparent that women are heavily represented in our COFAM staff, and we also have a great deal of people over 40 years of age working at the Museums. Three major takeaways from this research are:
1 - Our representation of women is very high, across the whole spectrum of jobs and levels.
2 - We are severely lacking in BIPOC representation in our managerial positions, particularly in the Curatorial and Conservation Departments.
3 - We have been successful in recruiting junior BIPOC professionals, but need to ensure the culture is supportive of them, and that they are provided growth opportunities.
As for the impetus for sharing this data, in order to truly change, and to create meaningful goals, we must first recognize where we are now. It also gives us an opportunity to understand where the biggest deficits are and prioritize where we focus in terms of hiring. The transparency of sharing this information and making a public commitment to undertaking the necessary changes within our museums will hopefully foster trust in our communities and encourage other organizations to do the same.
Parallel with our analysis of staff demographics, we are also looking closely at the demographics of our FAMSF and COFAM boards. While the data that we have on both boards is nuanced, one high level observation is that approximately 75 percent of both bodies are white. While our board has more diversity than average (AAM reported in 2017 that 46% of museum boards are 100% white), there is still room for improvement and growth, and this is one area of focus for our board’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and Nominating Committee.
Staff and Board Demographic Data: