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Report Shows Racial Pay Gap For L.A. City Workers
By City News Service
Published February 5, 2021

Los Angeles’ city workforce has a large racial pay gap, with city workers on average earning $53 per hour, while Black and Latino city employees earned an average of $44 per hour during the 2020 fiscal year, according to a report released today by Controller Ron Galperin.

“Los Angeles is a wonderful and diverse city, but it isn’t an equitable one,” Galperin said. “Structural barriers exist for women, people of color and others in too many neighborhoods, trends that are reflected in our own local government. The city needs to do everything in its power to be an example of what fairness and equity should look like. People of color, especially women of color, deserve access to greater opportunities and equitable pay for the critical work they do.”

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While 73% of city workers are people color — with the proportion of Asian and Black workers exceeding their rates in the city’s population – white men are at the top of every compensation category, the report said. Of the top 100 city earners, 56 are white, 21 are Hispanic, 15 are Black, and eight are Asian.

The report found that 81% of the women who work for the city are women of color, and that demographic is at the bottom of every compensation category. Black women earn 25% less than the city’s average gross salary, while white men earn 21% more than the average, creating a gap of 46% between Black women and white men.

Galperin also reported that the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety are among the least diverse city departments. The fire department’s workforce is 46% white and Building and Safety’s workforce is 44% white.
The most diverse departments include the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Los Angeles World Airports. Thirty-one percent of each of their workforces is Black.

Galperin urged the city to increase diversity and address the pay gap for employees of color. He said the city should inform the City Council about the racial inequity in hiring and promotion and take concrete steps to fix the problem. He also said officials should promote transparency and post demographic information, including average pay by race and gender, for full-time employees on the city’s website.

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