The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content-sharing agreement.
A new report released this week shows a striking disparity between the earnings of white men in Ohio compared to other men, women and people of color.
In 2019, the average non-white male in Ohio made about 20% less than the average white male. Meanwhile, the average white woman made almost one-third less, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Community Survey data conducted by Scioto Analysis, a Columbus-based economics and public policy firm.
Closing the gap is important not just for women and those who depend on them. It’s also important for companies if they want to unlock a huge pool of potential talent, some experts say.
It’s a long-standing issue in Ohio.
“This gap has persisted over the past five years,” the report said. “While the earnings gap fell to $470 million in 2011, it ballooned 21% from 2011 to 2015 on the backs of higher earnings for white male workers. Since then, the earnings gap has persisted in the $560 million to $570 million range every year.”
The Scioto Analysis report says the gap in earnings between white men and white women is responsible for 80% of the overall earnings gap in Ohio. And that’s despite the fact that women are making more than they had.
“Despite the earnings growth white female workers experienced in the past decade, the gap between white male earnings and white female earnings continued to grow due to the high baseline earnings white male workers enjoyed in 2010,” the Scioto Analysis report said.
Because they’re fewer in number, pay disparities for non-white women are responsible for a smaller portion of the earnings gap. But they’re still likely to be stark.
An analysis of census data released in March by the National Partnership for Women and Families compared the incomes of minority women to non-Hispanic white men nationally.
“Latinas are typically paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men,” the report said. “The median annual pay for a Latina in the United States who holds a full-time, year round job is $36,110, while the median annual pay for a white, non-Hispanic man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $65,208 — a difference of $29,098 per year.”
That’s enough for three years of tuition and fees at a four-year public university, nearly 38 months of childcare or 20 months’ worth of premiums for employer-based health insurance, the report said.
The analysis looked at how much minority women make for every dollar a non-Hispanic white man makes:
At the legislative level, some have sought to address pay disparities through such measures as protecting workers’ rights to compare their paychecks and outlawing the practice of determining entry-level pay based on previous pay.
The Society for Human Resource Management in 2019 outlined other steps that companies can take themselves. Among them:
- Conduct an audit comparing what men and women are paid for doing similar work and correct disparities.
- Examine bonuses, stock awards and promotion rates.
- Offer flexible hours and paid leave for all employees.
- Reward output instead of long hours.