Description of Respondents: The primary objective of this project was to hear from Black YPs in Greater Omaha. The efforts to achieve an adequately sized sample of Black YPs was generally successful. Of the 675 useable respondents, their racial/ethnic identities were White/Caucasian (n=399, or 59%), Black/African American (n=181 or 27%) and Hispanic/Latino n=32 or 5%).
Retention: Omaha has been successful in attracting YP’s – of the survey respondents, 48% moved to Greater Omaha from somewhere else and another 19% came back to Omaha after living elsewhere. Retention is a greater challenge, as 80% of the surveyed YPs would choose to live elsewhere. The retention challenge is even greater when broken out by race/ethnicity – 87% of Black YPs surveyed would choose to live elsewhere. Fortunately, there is an important difference between choosing to live elsewhere and actually moving elsewhere. When asked if respondents intend to be living in Omaha in the next five years, only 15% of YPs said no. More Black YPs do not intend to be living in Omaha in five years (23%).
Sense of Community: Black young professionals think it is important to feel part of the community, yet on each of the six related questions, they feel less connected than other YPs:
• Feeling connected to Omaha (44% vs. 62%); and
• Greater Omaha helps me fulfill my needs (43% vs. 67%).
Lived Environment: What are those community attributes that matter to YPs? We asked three sets of questions – economic, social and physical – on two dimensions, importance and satisfaction. On each of these dimensions, we found sizeable gaps in responses based on race/ethnicity, particularly on the dimension of satisfaction; Black young professionals are generally less satisfied than other YPs.
• Economic Aspects: local job opportunities and cost of living were most important to respondents and the gaps in satisfaction, based on race/ethnicity, were most noticeable. Black YPs were noticeably from other YPs in the following areas:
- Availability of job opportunities (59% vs 80%);
- Average income (46% vs. 66%);
- Range of industries (53% vs. 70%); and
- Affordable housing (54% vs. 69%).
• Physical Aspects: the most important finding had to do with public schools. While nearly all respondents rated public schools as important, only 36% of Black young professionals were satisfied with public schools in Great Omaha (compared to 58% of other YPs). Black YPs were also 5 less satisfied with the quality of trails/bike paths (46% vs. 55%) but more satisfied with the availability of public transportation (31% vs. 12%).
• Social Aspects: the importance of neighborhood friendliness and feeling safe were rated high by all YPs. The importance of neighborhood diversity varied based on race/ethnicity: 92% of Black young professionals rated diversity important compared to 76% of other YPs. Black young professionals were consistently less satisfied with:
- Local arts and music (51% vs. 75%);
- Friendliness of neighbors (57% vs. 80%);
- Recreational opportunities (46% vs. 61%); and
- Diversity of local residents (33% vs. 46%).
Workplace: In the workplace, similar disparities were found based on race/ethnicity. Several responses to questions are highlighted:
• Black young professionals are:
- More frequently feeling overqualified (36% vs. 24%), are
- Less frequently satisfied with their salary based on education and experience (39% vs 55%), and are
- Less frequently satisfied with their current position (64% vs. 78%).
• Black young professionals are less confident they have an equal opportunity to be hired in Greater Omaha (49% vs. 76%) and are less confident they have an equal opportunity for promotion or advancement (43% vs. 67%).
• Fewer Black young professionals reported having a professional mentor than did other YPs (57% vs. 70%).
• On the positive side, many respondents were satisfied with opportunities for professional development and there were only modest differences based on race/ethnicity.
Maher, Craig S.; King, Keyonna; Scarpa, Natalie; and Harder, Jeanette, "Greater Omaha Chamber: 2017 Diversity and Talent Inclusion Study Final Report" (2020). Reports. 20.