Persistent awareness problems about the pay gap between white men and women and Black women continue well into 2019. As part of our ongoing partnership with LeanIn.Org, we’ve added new data to our growing body of research on the gender pay gap, showing Black women are consistently given fewer opportunities at work— which could mean the disparity will continue for years to come.
We found that, compared with Black women, far greater proportions of white men and white women have been given opportunities that can positively impact their career trajectories.
Here are some of the most striking findings we uncovered this year:
Opportunity only knocks for some. White men report having access to senior leaders at nearly 3x the rate of Black women, and white women report similar access at 2x the rate of Black women. Moreover, both white men and women (33% and 30%) are far more likely to have ever had job or executive leadership training than Black women (19%).
Learning from and interacting with people in positions of power can play a major role in creating opportunity for advancement and honing the skills needed to grow one’s career. If Black women don’t have equal access, it’s a major disadvantage.
Mentorship support is lacking. While 31% of white men and 27% of white women have had a mentor or sponsor at some point in their career, just 2 in 10 black women have had a similar advocate or role model in their professional lives.
Like leadership access, mentorship plays a major role in defining career-advancing opportunities. Mentors invest in our professional growth, act as a sounding board, and model possible career paths for us to learn from.
The handbook needs an update. Over a third (37%) of white women—compared to just 27% of Black women—have worked for companies that have policies in place to support balancing work and family demands. This represents another meaningful disadvantage that could ultimately impact Black women’s happiness, success, or ability to work at all.
There are also ways that companies can combat these inequities, and our research exposed a few that resonated especially strongly:
Take steps to increase wage transparency. Over a third of Americans believe leadership trainings, increasing wage transparency, and creating flexible workplace policies are effective ways to provide opportunities to help women and men advance equally. Among Black women, wage transparency was the top-cited potential solution (40%).
Measure diversity and inclusion and make them key company metrics. Our data shows that Black women in particular think that having policies in place to help recruit more diverse candidates would be beneficial in advancing equality in the workplace (38% vs. 19% among white women).
As this new data shows, experiences can vary radically. There’s never been a better time for companies to take an honest look at their employees’ sense of belonging, support, and exposure to opportunities, and to start addressing any disparities.
Methodology: This SurveyMonkey/LeanIn.Org poll was conducted online from August 9-14, 2019 among a total sample of 6,697 adults age 18 and over living in the United States. Respondents for these surveys were selected from more than two million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over.