Lean In Report Highlights America’s Blind Spots on Gender Inequality

Lean In Report Highlights America’s Blind Spots on Gender Inequality

The 2107 edition of the Women in the Workplace report, released on Tuesday by Lean In and McKinsey, finds that “women’s progress is slow—and may even be stalling—in part because many employees and companies fail to understand the magnitude of the problem.” The report, which is based on pipeline data from 222 companies employing more than 12 million people, shows that women remain underrepresented at every level, and women and color are even worse off:

Only one in five C-suite leaders is a woman, and fewer than one in thirty is a woman of color. This disparity is not due to company-level attrition or lack of interest: women and men stay at their companies and ask for promotions at similar rates. Company commitment to gender diversity is at an all-time high for the third year in a row, but this commitment isn’t changing the numbers. The report points to a simple reason: we have blind spots when it comes to diversity, and we can’t solve problems that we don’t see or understand clearly.

Lean In and McKinsey find that corporate America has made little progress toward gender parity since last year’s report, which found that for every 100 women promoted past entry level positions, 130 men were promoted, and that women were less likely to be given challenging assignments, included in meetings, or afforded opportunities to interact with senior leaders. This year’s report focuses on the thorny issue that while these problems are not getting better, many Americans (particularly men) believe they have already been solved:

Many employees think women are well represented in leadership when they see only a few. Nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. And remarkably, a third of women agree. It is hard to imagine a groundswell of change when many employees don’t see anything wrong with the status quo. …

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Fed Study: Discrimination Is Causing Growth in the US Racial Pay Gap

Fed Study: Discrimination Is Causing Growth in the US Racial Pay Gap

Last year, an alarming report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that the gap in income between black and white Americans had grown from 1979 to 2015, with black men earning 22.0 percent less, and black women making 34.2 percent less, than white men with the same education, experience, and geographical location. A new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco confirms that finding, showing that the black-white wage gap has been growing and furthermore, that economic factors do not explain why.

The hourly wage ratio of the average black male to his white male counterpart shrank from 80 percent in 1979 to 70 percent in 2016, the San Francisco Fed finds. Black women earned 95 percent of what white women made in 1979, but that has gone down to 82 percent in 2016. While some of the gap can be explained by attributes such as location, education, working hours, job type, etc., the reason for its growth is less tied to those factors and economists are struggling to explain the increase. The Fed says this “implies that factors that are harder to measure—such as discrimination, differences in school quality, or differences in career opportunities—are likely to be playing a role in the persistence and widening of these gaps over time.” Eshe Nelson at Quartz adds:

In fact, additional research by the San Francisco Fed showed that black people with bachelor’s degrees saw the earnings gap with their white counterparts increase by more than for high-school graduates. … Ultimately, it seems that discrimination—whether in the “unexplained” category, or more structural racial bias that exists in educational systems and elsewhere—is widening the disparity in wages between black and white workers. Time alone will not close this gap, researchers conclude. … time seems to be making it worse.

One factor that may also account for the recent rise is that black workers are hit harder by recessions and recover more slowly than the rest of the labor market. It’s very likely that the cumulative effect of the recessions of 1987 and the late 2000s reversed, or even worsened, any progress made from the late 1960s to the early 80s. Bloomberg’s Jeanna Smialek and Jordyn Holman idenfity why this is such a problem:

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Disclosure of BBC Stars’ Salaries Draws Backlash, Exposes Wider Issues of Inequity

Disclosure of BBC Stars’ Salaries Draws Backlash, Exposes Wider Issues of Inequity

The recent release of high-earner compensation data by the BBC has brought to light some uncomfortable facts about gender and racial pay gaps at the UK’s national broadcaster and sparked a discussion about the problem of pay inequity throughout the country.

As a publicly-funded entity, the BBC fell under the purview of a government initiative in this year’s Royal Charter that required it to release the names of nearly 100 employees who earned more than £150,000 annually. “License fee payers have a right to know where their money goes,” Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told Newsweek, referring to the £147 fee per device (TV, tablet, etc.) that funds all of the UK’s public broadcasting. “By making the BBC more transparent it will help deliver savings that can then be invested in even more great programs.”

BBC director-general Tony Hall objected to the government directive: “The BBC operates in a competitive market,” he told Sky News. “And this will not make it easier for the BBC to retain the talent the public love. Ultimately, the BBC should be judged on the quality of its programmes.”

Published earlier this month, the list revealed startling discrepancies between women and minorities and their white, male colleagues. Of the 96 names on the list, only one third were female and just 11 percent were black or minority ethnic (BME, the UK’s catchall term for non-white minorities). The top seven earners, as well as 12 of the top 14, were men. Many women were found to be making much less than men in similar roles, while others in prominent roles did not even earn enough to make it onto the list:

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New York City Set to Ban Salary History Inquiries for Private Employers

New York City Set to Ban Salary History Inquiries for Private Employers

Last November, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive order barring city agencies from asking job candidates for their salary histories, in an effort to close gender and racial pay gaps among the roughly 300,000 people who work for the city government. While de Blasio did not have the power to impose such a ban on the private sector, the order was touted as a model for private employers to follow, and the city’s public advocate, Letitia James, submitted a bill to the city council last August that would enact a broader ban on salary histories.

According to James, that bill is now poised to pass, the Cut’s Dayna Evans reports:

James’s bill makes it illegal for businesses in both the public and private sectors from asking for salary histories from job applicants, and according to Thursday’s meeting it could pass as soon as Wednesday of next week, one day after Equal Pay Day. “Being underpaid once should not condemn you to a lifetime of inequity,” James said in her opening remarks. “This bill is not a panacea, by no means,” she said, but she acknowledged how important it was as a starting point.

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What’s Holding Back Diversity at Intel?

What’s Holding Back Diversity at Intel?

Intel has released its mid-year diversity report for 2016, showing scant improvement over its 2015 annual report. USA Today has the figures:

Currently, Intel is 53% white and 32% Asian, a skew that is generally reflective of tech companies – from Google and Apple to small startups — as they continue to grapple with the challenge of creating a workforce that better reflects the U.S. population. … Among the key findings in Intel’s latest report: female employees inched up to 25.4% from 24.8% in December 2015, while underrepresented minorities (URMs) decreased slightly to 12.3% from 12.4%. Among URMs, African-American staffing increased to 3.7% from 3.5%, while Hispanics dropped to 8% from 8.4%. …

On the hiring front, Intel’s efforts remained flat with women and minorities accounting for 43.4% of all hires, compared to 43.1% in December. Of that 43.4%, 13.1% were URMs, a notable jump from the 9% figure logged in December 2014. The company also said it was at 99% pay equity for URMs. Gender pay equity is at 100%.

Women in senior company positions grew to 18.2% from 16.5% six months ago, while those in leadership positions also increased slightly to 18.7% from 17.6%. URM representation in senior positions inched up to 6.4% from 5.8%, while those in leadership roles hit 6.9% from 6.3%. Intel also announced it had added a second woman to its board of directors, University of California at Berkeley electrical engineering professor Tsu-Jae King Liu.

Intel is not unique among big tech firms in having trouble making progress on diversity and inclusion: Facebook came in for public criticism last month when it attempted to explain a lack of progress on the “pipeline problem”—i.e., a lack of qualified candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Apple’s diversity report that came out last week showed modest gains, but critics noted that its leadership remains heavily white and mail. Then again, deficits in leadership diversity are a common problem throughout the industry. Apple, like Intel, touted the progress it has made in closing pay gaps between women and men and between white and nonwhite employees.

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Apple Claims to Have Achieved Pay Equity, Modest Hiring Gains in New Diversity Report

Apple Claims to Have Achieved Pay Equity, Modest Hiring Gains in New Diversity Report

Apple released it latest diversity report yesterday, indicating that the company has made some progress hiring more women and minorities, and has closed the pay gap between those employees and their white male colleagues, as the Verge‘s Nick Statt outlines:

[T]he company increased the percentage of female new hires from 31 percent in 2014 to 37 percent so far this year [across its 125,000 person global workforce], while the figure for underrepresented minorities [for its 80,000 person US workforce] has increased from 21 percent of new hires to 27 percent in 2016. Apple classifies underrepresented minorities as “Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander” in its report.

While Apple’s progress has been slow with regard to hiring, it is making more substantial changes to how it compensates individuals. According to the report, the company has remedied pay gaps between white and nonwhite employees and men and women in the US. It did so by analyzing salaries, bonuses, and annual stock grants, to ensure its workers in similar roles with equitable performance earn the same amount of money.

Rainbow Push Coalition president Jesse Jackson, who confronted Apple CEO Tim Cool about the company’s diversity problems a few years ago, said in a statement that he is pleased with the progress thus far, applauding that “they are clearly setting the pace, making measurable progress for three consecutive years. They’ve acted with intention, not just aspiration.” In an effort to increase transparency, Apple also got rid of its “undeclared” ethnic category in this year’s report, since that population of employees was less than 1 percent as a “result of stronger internal processes and employees properly identifying themselves.”

However, to Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government who spoke with the Washington Post‘s Elizabeth Dwoskin, while Apple’s diversity gains are encouraging, “it would be great if [the company] could show more dramatic differences over time”:

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