- People of color are significantly less likely to receive a requested raise than white men, according to PayScale's Raise Anatomy report. Women of color are 19% less likely to receive a raise than white men, and men of color are 25% less likely to get a raise, the report found. After controlling for other factors, PayScale said there was no statistically significant difference in the rates at which women of color, white women, men of color and white men ask for raises.
- Generally, most people in the study (70%) received a wage increase, with 39% receiving the amount they asked for and 31% receiving less. A third of workers reported getting a raise before they requested one. While the most common justification for not granting workers a raise was budget restraints (49%), not giving any reason at all was most common.
- Among the employees who were told a budget couldn’t accommodate their pay increase, only 22% believed this rationale. Not believing the employer’s rationale negatively affected workers’ job satisfaction: 72% of workers who didn’t accept the rationale and 71% who received no rationale said they planned to look for a new job within six months. As long as workers believed their employer's rational, half had the same level of job satisfaction as employees who received a raise.
PayScale says its findings are evidence that that simply expecting people from underestimated backgrounds to ask for a raise will not close the wage gap.
To address this issue, some employers, like Citigroup, have undertaken pay equity audits and adjusted wages as necessary. But that move alone can't keep bias from creeping back into employment decisions, some say. Instead, some employers are standardizing job categories and review processes, working to ensure that employees are evaluated on the same criteria as their peers. Others, such as GoDaddy, are automatically flagging employees for promotion based on their tenure, to ensure supervisors' biases aren't keeping employees from advancing.
Finally, employers are increasingly turning to training to address unconscious bias. Even before the Starbucks incident that led the company to close it's doors nationwide for an hours-long training last week, employers were banking on the effort to address bias at work. Some have received pushback, however, with Google's James Damore serving as the most notable example. Still, many say it can change employee behavior — even if it can't change minds.