- Racial wage gaps are wider among workers with higher education, a June 17 analysis from The Conference Board found. The wage difference in 2019 between White and Black men without bachelor's degrees was about 16%. The wage difference between White and Black men with bachelor's degrees or higher was about 24%. Disparities between White men and Black women and White men and all women exhibited similar patterns when controlling for higher education. The report said it used microdata from the University of Minnesota.
- Black workers were significantly underrepresented in jobs and sectors that saw the largest increase in top earners in the past decade, the report said. Black workers make up 3% of top-earning software developers and CEOs, for instance.
- The tech industry is seeing representation of Black workers grow, though slowly, according to the report. But the share of Black workers among top tech earners has been dwindling since 2015. Geography may contribute to the poor representation of Black workers in tech. "High-paying jobs are concentrated in regions with small percentages of Black workers," the report said. What's more, metro areas with strong job growth in tech have smaller portions of Black workers.
The financial impact of the pandemic was more pronounced for women and people of color. Job losses among women outpaced that for men, an April 2020 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research found. Pew Research findings published at that time found that Black and Hispanic workers were overrepresented in the industries hardest hit by coronavirus-related layoffs.
But the pandemic accelerated one trend that The Conference Board said may help shrink wage gaps in tech and other lucrative industries: remote work. "By opening up more roles for remote work across the U.S., including high-paying and executive positions," the report said, "tech companies have an opportunity to better diversify their workforces and help narrow the wage gap between Black and White workers."
Many tech companies are keeping remote work options as they shed other pandemic policies. Google, for example, announced it will open offices in September and pilot a hybrid scheduling model.
Many of the companies rolling out such plans have also been vocal about their efforts to boost representation of Black workers and other minorities within their ranks. By 2025, Google said it wants to double the number of Black workers in non-leadership roles in the U.S. It also wants to "improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30%."
If The Conference Board's assertion is true, Google's goals may be spurred on by its openness to remote work. Many of the cities and counties that host the company's offices are home to predominantly White populations. Black people comprise 2.8% of Santa Clara County, where Google set up its global headquarters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
HR pros predicted remote work would expand organizational D&I capabilities in an April report from video interview platform HireVue. In fact, 92% of hiring managers surveyed no longer considered location to be a barrier, and nearly 50% of respondents said they planned to expand their recruiting to include job seekers from "non-traditional places."