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Is the Racial Wage Gap Getting Worse?

By Dan Atkerson on October 03, 2016

Woman in an interviewA recent study from the Economic Policy Institute says that the racial wage gap is currently the worst that it has been in nearly 40 years. Many know that wages in the United States have remained relatively flat during the past decade, but few understand that during this time period the wage gap between Caucasian Americans and African Africans has actually grown as well.

This can be very discouraging, since many like to think that our workplaces are becoming increasingly equal over time. According to this study, however, things are actually getting worse when it comes to pay.

A black man living in certain regions of the country can make an average of 22 percent less than a white man in the same area with similar education, experience and other qualifications. Black women make an average of 11 percent less than white women with similar qualifications. The report also stresses that African American women have been hit the hardest, since they face the combined disadvantages of racial and gender discrimination. The wage gap only gets worse the more educated and experienced workers become.

What Causes the Racial Wage Gap?

The study cites racial discrimination as the primary cause of the gap. In the 1980s, the average black man with a college degree earned only 10 percent less than a white man with similar qualifications. When wage growth slowed in the United States economy, it appears that people of color took the biggest hit.

The report suggests stricter enforcement of racial discrimination laws to pressure employers to be fairer in their hiring and compensation practices. It also suggests creating programs to help people of color enter industries with high growth, such a technology.

Everyone deserves a fair opportunity to achieve their career dreams, regardless of their gender or race. If you have been the victim of discrimination in your workplace, an experienced employment attorney can help you hold your company accountable for their actions.

Dan A. Atkerson is a Dallas employment attorney who is passionate about fighting discrimination, sexual harassment and other forms of workplace injustice.

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