Georgetown study: Pay gap between minorities, Whites still widespread
It’s not just the choice of major that determines how much college students will earn once they graduate. Research also shows disparities based on gender and race.
White workers earn tens of thousands dollars more than their minority counterparts, a Georgetown University study finds.
“It's very disappointing,” said Alvina Murdoch.
Researchers at Georgetown expected to find a pay gap between men and women as well as between whites and minorities. But the gap was surprisingly wide and widespread.
“In all 171 majors, people who work the same hours and same degree, the minorities earn substantially less,” said Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown.
Using first-of-its-kind data from the Census Bureau, researchers discovered disparities favoring white men in all industries. For example, white engineers earn an average of $80,000 a year. Their African-American counterparts earn $20,000 less. Hispanic engineers earn $24,000 less than White ones.
“It still surprises people when we realize how far we've come with the first Black (President) that discrimination on racial terms is still very much with us,” said Hilary Shelton of the NAACP.
To close the gap, advocates for minorities are calling for better anti-discrimination training and more oversight from the equal employment opportunity commission. “We should be paid for the job we do regardless of race gender nationality where we come from,” said worker Theresa Canfora.
Some say racial stereotypes still factor into hiring and salary decisions. Others say it's because minorities are more likely than whites to be first-generation college students and therefore don't have as much access to the networks, connections and know-how that can help advance their careers.
The researcher at Georgetown isn’t sure that's the case. “These numbers get past all of that. Getting hired as a school teacher is not about being connected. And why a school teacher makes less than a school teacher who is a majority person is a mystery,” Carnevale said.
Because of regulations and union protections, advocates say there is more equity in the public sector where minorities are highly concentrated. Budget cuts and possibly layoffs looming at the federal, state and local level could hit minorities hard.
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