NYC Government Workers of Color Paid Less than White Colleagues: Study

NYC Government Workers of Color Paid Less than White Colleagues: Study

By Chris Sommerfeldt | NY Daily News

Black, Asian and Hispanic NYC government workers continue to be paid less than their white colleagues, a disparity driven by a persistent pattern of low wages for women of color in the municipal ranks, according to a new study released by the City Council on Tuesday.

The study reflects salary levels across all municipal positions as of 2021, the latest period for which data is available.

As of 2021, city government employees of color earned $0.84 for every $1 paid in salary to white workers, the study found. Two-thirds of the $0.16 wage gap is due to disparate salaries for female employees of color, while lagging wages for male employees of color account for the remaining one-third, according to the study, which the Council must conduct annually under a law adopted in 2019.

The latest study found that persisting wage gaps are largely the result of “occupational segregation,” in which women and people of color are concentrated in job titles that pay less.

The report doesn’t show whether disparities have improved since Mayor Adams took office on Jan. 1, 2022.

Still, the latest Council report appears to show some progress on the city government pay equity front as compared to previous years.

As of 2019, Black city employees had made $0.71 on every dollar a white worker received, while Hispanic employees made $0.75 and Asian employees made $0.85 on every dollar earned by a white employee, the Council’s 2022 pay equity report found.

Some agencies that have historically lacked racial and gender diversity continue to see a homogenous workforce, the latest Council report says.

The FDNY proves an especially stark example, with its employees being 62% white and 12% female, the Council reported. The Department of Sanitation is just 9% female and 51% white, the study also shows.

Four bills have been introduced in the City Council this session seeking to promote diversity in the upper echelons of municipal government.

One of those bills, which will be discussed in a Council hearing this week, would establish a new municipal counselor position within the Department of Citywide Administrative Services that’d be responsible for offering career advice to city employees.

“Every member of our diverse workforce should be compensated fairly for their hard work, regardless of race or gender,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) said in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s study.

“Pay equity is not only a matter of racial, gender and economic justice, but also fosters a culture of inclusivity and respect that improves the city’s ability to retain its talented workforce.”

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