The bamboo ceiling refers to the barriers that many minority groups face when it comes to obtaining leadership positions in the workplace, including Asians in the West. Even if they may be qualified for the promotion at work, it often bypasses them. Despite Asians existing as a prominent minority group in the US, Asian-Americans only represent less than 3% of corporate leadership in the Fortune 500 companies. Considering the fact that Asian-Americans have the highest levels of education and income in the whole country, this statistic is low and shows how underrepresented they are in the corporate landscape of the US. This lack of representation is rooted in how people perceive leaders, negative stereotypes that paint Asians as not being assertive enough to be leaders, and how racism is still prevalent in society - no matter how subtle it is. One argument is also that the cultural values that Asians possess may set them up for invisibility in terms of leadership in the workplace. For example, what they deem as appropriate behavior compared to their counterparts from other races and how they interact with their superiors.
Breaking the bamboo ceiling involves efforts undertaken by both individuals and organizations. Individuals should acknowledge their achievements instead of staying humble, which many Asians are taught by their parents. In the corporate world, results matter when it comes to getting promotions and moving up the ladder. Networking internally and externally also comes in handy and this comes from frequent collaboration and interaction with others. Individuals should develop their own personal brand and hone their executive presence and mindset to increase the recognition of their achievements. Organizations should play a role in removing this barrier by advocating for job rotation for candidates and allowing them to broaden their network. The human resource community in particular can significantly change the corporate landscape for Asian-Americans.