New Opportunity Gap Research Reveals Lack of Opportunity Is a Driving Force in the Pay Gap between Black Women and White Men

Carol Grant, VP Marketing, August 3, 2021

As we observe Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day in the year when Black women’s pay finally catches up to what their white male counterparts got paid the year prior, we have to understand the inequities driving the gap in order to change its trajectory. 

We know that starting pay is one key driver of the continued pay gap between white men and BIPOC communities, but recent opportunity gap research we conducted shows that the opportunities for advancement to more senior levels in an organization is another key driver of the pay gap. According to our research, executives earn 2.9 times more than professionals, 6.3 times more than service workers, and 7.1 times more than office and clerical workers. Black women face the widest opportunity gap with a staggering 103-year estimate to close it, with white men holding executive positions 9.2 times the rate of Black women. Latinas face the second-biggest gap, followed by Black men.

Simply put, lack of representation in senior manager and executive-level roles comes at a high cost to Black women, other underrepresented groups, and the economy as a whole. According to CNBC, if the Black wage, education, housing, and investing gaps had been closed 20 years ago, it would have added an estimated $16 trillion to the economy.  

The good news is that the pay and opportunity gaps are solvable. Companies that are taking stock of their current inequities, committing to action, and communicating about their strategies are leading the charge to shrink the gap.

You can’t fix what you don’t track, something our pay equity platform, PayEQ, helps organizations do by analyzing and resolving unlawful pay disparities due to gender or race. As companies start to analyze their workforce data and shine a spotlight on pay and representation disparities at all levels of the organization, they can start to form precise action plans for where to focus their efforts for the greatest impact.

Live webinar: expert panel discusses top strategies to close the opportunity gap. Register now.

Explore the full opportunity gap research report to see who is most affected by disparities, where the problems are largest, and how your organization stacks up. 

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