Black workers in the United States continue to earn less than their white counterparts even as American companies are raising diversity and inclusion as a cornerstone of their business strategies, according to a major new report by The Conference Board.
The Conference Board report attributed the wage gaps to a range of factors, including geographical segregation and labor market segmentation, as well as different access to educational opportunities, social and professional networks.
According to The Conference Board, black men with a bachelor’s degree or higher earned 18% less than white men with equivalent qualifications in 2010. By 2019, that gap had widened to 24%, driven by what the think tank said was the striking underrepresentation of black workers in high-paying industries and occupations.
It singled out the technology industry, which it said experienced a surge in high earners in recent years, yet blacks accounted for only 4% of top earners, compared to 6% in other industries.
The Conference Board also noted that black workers were similarly underrepresented in other fields for top earners, accounting for just 2.8% of top-earning chief executives and 3.8% of top earners in marketing.
Some industries and jobs with a large concentration of black workers among top earners are shrinking. The economic think tank also noted that blacks with a bachelor’s degree were much more likely to work in jobs that do not require a college degree, such as drivers and security guards.