The median salary for a man working for the City is $21,600 higher than a woman, and a Black employee’s salary is $27,800 less than a white employee, a new analysis released by the City Council shows.

Latino City workers are also paid less than white workers, with a median salary that is $22,200 lower.

The City Council released the report on pay disparities on Monday ahead of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which marks the 20 months a Black woman would have to work to achieve the same pay a white man makes in twelve months.

The City Council said in a press release that the main cause of the inequities was occupational segregation: the over- or under-representation of certain demographic groups in certain occupations.

White men tend to hold higher ranking and therefore higher paying positions, while women and people of color are often siloed in lower paying positions, according to the Council’s analysis.  The report showed that the median salary for a man was $79,000, while a woman’s average was $57,400.

The report also showed the concerning trend that Black women with similar qualifications and titles to white men make 1.9% less in similar roles.

The Pay Equity Law, or Local Law 18, sponsored by Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and passed in 2019, required the city to provide the Council access to pay data based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other protected classes among employees of the City of New York in all agencies headed by a mayoral appointee.

Cumbo said of the recent analysis that the findings hint at the true facts about employment discrimination and pay disparity, “a quite familiar topic for many of us who deal with it on a regular basis.”

“It shows clear, across-the-board discrimination of occupations that have a predominantly Black and brown workforce. It is also incredible to see and verify that the ‘glass ceiling’ of executive management exists for people of color across the entire city workforce,” she said.

She said she hoped the annual report was expanded and included in future budget discussions so the councilmembers could can make sure those who make the city run are paid a fair wage.

In response to the findings, the Council has put forward eight recommendations to improve pay equity and help end occupational segregation in City agencies, which include:

  • Update Local Law 18 to require additional data that will improve the Council’s ability to analyze the data in future reports
  • Require agencies to collect and report on the gender and race of civil service exam applicants and acceptance and graduation statistics from agency training programs
  • Require analysis of job postings and recruitment material for biases
  • Expand the existing law that requires the DOE and DCAS to make high school students aware of civil service opportunities
  • Require agencies to perform outreach to local communities regarding civil service opportunities
  • Require agencies to perform internal pay equity analyses and adjust salaries as necessary to achieve pay equity
  • Conduct comparable worth analyses of jobs primarily held by women/non-white workers
  • Conduct interagency analyses for majority women/non-white agencies

Councilmember Farah N. Louis, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus, said the report illustrated how ingrained racial and gender pay disparities were within the municipal workforce, which was essential to keeping the city operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As we commemorate Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, we must accelerate our efforts to close the wage gap that perpetuates poverty in households throughout the five boroughs,” she said.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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