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Extent of Job Discrimination

Extent of Job Discrimination

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Published by: simply_coool on Jul 23, 2009
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08/11/2011

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LESSON 17:EXTENT OF JOB DISCRIMINATION
 Today we will discuss about the extent of job discrimination insociety.
Points to be covered in this lesson:
Distribution of Income Among Working Men andWomen, 1994
 Job discrimination based on race and gender
Income ($) Percent of men with that incomePercent of women with that income
How do we estimate whether an institution or a set
of institutions is practic-ing discrimination against a
certain group?
By looking at statistical indicators of how the members of thatgroup are distributed within the institution. A prima facie indication of discrimination exists when adisproportionate num-ber of the members of a certain grouphold the less desirable positions within the institutions in spite of their preferences and abilities. Three kinds of com-parisons can provide evidence for such adistribution:1. Comparisons of the average benefits the institutions bestow on the discriminated group with the average benefits theinstitutions bestow on other groups;2. Comparisons of the proportion of the discriminated groupfound in the lowest levels of the in-stitutions with theproportions of other groups found at those levels;3. Com-parisons of the proportions of that group that hold themore advantageous positions with the proportions of othergroups that hold those same positions.If we look at American society in terms of these three kinds of comparisons, it becomes clear that some form of racial and sexualdiscrimination is present in American society as a whole. It is alsoclear that for some segments of the minority popula- tion (suchas young college-educated black males)discrimina-tion is not as intense as it once was.
Average Income Comparisons
Income comparisons provide the most suggestive indicators of discrim-ination. If we compare the average incomes of nonwhite American families, for example, with the average incomes of white American families, we see that white family incomes aresubstantially above those of nonwhites.Contrary to a commonly held belief, the income gap between whites and minorities has been increasing rather than decreasing.Since 1970, in fact, even during periods when the real incomesof whites have gone up, real minority incomes have not kept up.In 1970 the average income for a black family was 65 percent of a white family’s average income; in 1994 the black family’s in- come was 63 percent of the white family’s income.Income comparisons also reveal large inequalities based on sex. Acom-parison of average incomes for men and women shows that women receive only a portion of what men receive. A recentstudy found, in fact, that firms employing mostly men paid their workers on average 40% more than those employing mostly  women.
1 to 2,499 7 142,500 to 4,999 4 105,000 to 9,999 12 2110,000 to 14,999 13 1515,000 to 24,999 20 1925,000 to 49,999 29 1750,000 to 74,999 10 375,000 and over 6 1
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current PopulationReports.
 The evidence of racial and sexual discrimination provided by thequan-titative measures cited can be filled out qualitatively by examining the occu-pational distribution of racial and sexualminorities. As the figures suggests, larger percentages of whitemales move into the higher paying occu-pations, while minori-ties and women end up in those that are less desirable.Consequently, although many white women have moved intomiddle-manage-ment positions in recent years, neither they norminorities have yet been al-lowed into the top-paying seniormanagement and top executive positions. Just as the most desirable occupations are held by whites, whilethe less desirable are held by blacks, so also the most well-paying occupations tend to be reserved for men, and theremainder for women. The following table illustrates thedisparities. Studies indicate that despite two decades of womenentering the workforce in record numbers, women managersstill are not being promoted from middle-managementpositions into senior or top-management posts be-cause they encounter an impenetrable “glass ceiling” through which they may look but not enter.It is some-times suggested that women choose to work inthose jobs that have relatively low pay and low prestige. It issuggested sometimes, for example, that women believe thatonly certain jobs (such as secretary or kindergarten teacher) are“appropriate” for women; that many women choose courses of study that suit them only for such jobs; that many womenchoose those jobs because they plan to raise children and thesejobs are relatively easy to leave and re-enter; that many womenchoose these jobs because they have limited demands and allow them time to raise children; that many women defer to thedemands of their husbands’ careers and choose to forgodeveloping their own careers. Al-though choice plays some rolein pay differentials, however, researchers who have studied thedifferences in earnings between men and women have all con-cluded that wage differentials cannot be accounted for simply onthe basis of such factors.
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Median Weekly Earnings of Selected Occupations andPercent of Men and Women in those Occupations, 1993
minorities. A major study of eco-nomic and population trendsduring the nineties concluded that the 1990s would be character-ized by the following:
Occupation Weekly earningsPercent of total workforce inthe occupation who are:Men Women
First, most new workers entering the labor force during the 1990s will not be white males, but women and minorities.
($) (%) (%)
Secretaries 386 1 99Receptionists 316 2 98Kindergarten teachers 353 3 97 Typists 366 6 94 Teacher's aides 270 7 93Bank tellers 292 9 91Bookkeepers 375 10 90House cleaners and servants 205 11 89Sewing machine operators 226 14 86 Waiters and waitresses 230 26 74Social Workers 511 33 67Computer operators 437 39 61School administrators 778 44 56 Accountants 612 49 51Management analysts 775 53 47Operations analysts 793 60 40Computer systems analysts 821 69 31Marketing managers 851 70 30Doctors 1,019 72 28Industrial engineers 861 84 16Chemical engineers 996 91 9 Aerospace engineers 1,008 92 8 Airplane pilots 1,086 97 3
 Although a generation ago white malesheld the largest share of the job market,between 1985 and the year 2000 white males will comprise only 15 percent of all new  workers en-tering the labor force. Womenand minorities will take their place. Threefifths of all new entrants coming intobusiness between 1985 and 2000 will be women, a trend created by sheer economicnecessity as well as cultural redefinitions of the role of women. By the year 2000, about47 percent of the workforce will be women,and 61 percent of all American women willbe em-ployed. Native minorities andimmigrants will make up 42 percent of allnew workers during this decade.
Second, this large influx of womenand minorities will encounter majordifficulties if current trends do not change.
First,
as we saw, a sizable proportion of  women are still concentrated in traditionally female jobs that pay less than traditionally male jobs.
Second,
at the present time women encounter bar-riers (the so-called“glass ceiling”) when attempting to advanceinto top -paying top management
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment andEarnings, June 1994, Table 56
One study found that only half of the earnings gap might beac-counted for by women’s choices while other studies havefound it could ac-count for a bit more or a bit less. All studies, however, have demonstrated that only a portion othe gap can be accounted for on the basis of male and femaledifferences in education, work experience, work continuity, self-imposed work restrictions, and absenteeism. These studies show that even after taking such differences into account, a gapbetween the earnings of men and women remains that can only be accounted for by discrimination in the labor market. A report of the National Academy of Sciences concluded,“about 35 to 40 percent of the disparity in average earnings isdue to sex seg-regation because women are essentially steeredinto lower-paying ‘women’s jobs.’ Some studies have shownthat perhaps only one tenth of the wage differences betweenmen and women can be accounted for by differences in their“personalities and tastes.” Similar studies have shown that half of the earnings differences between white and minority workerscannot be accounted for by differences of work history, of on-the-job training, of absenteeism, nor of self-imposed restrictionson work hours and 10cation. To make matters worse, several unexpected trends that emerged inthe early nineties and that will be with us until the end of thecentury promise to increase the difficulties facing women andpositions. The large numbers of minorities entering the workforce willalso en-counter significant disadvantages if current trends donot change. As these large waves of minorities hit the labormarket, they will find that most of the new good jobs awaiting them require extremely high levels of skill and ed-ucation thatthey do not have. Of all the new jobs that will be created be-tween now and the year 2000, more than half will require someeducation beyond high school and almost a third will require acollege degree. Among the fastest-growing fields will be professions withextremely high education requirements, such as technicians,engineers, social scientists, lawyers, math-ematicians, scientists,and health professionals; while those fields that will actually seedeclines in numbers consist of jobs that require relatively low levels of education and skills, such as machine tenders andoperators, blue collar supervisors, assemblers, hand workers,miners, and farmers. Even those new jobs that require relatively less skills will have tough require-ments: Secretaries, clerks, andcashiers will need the ability to read and write clearly, to under-stand directions, and to use computers; assembly-line work-ersare already being required to learn statistical process controlmethods employing basic algebra and statistics. The new jobs waiting for minorities will thus demand more education andhigher levels of language, math, and reasoning skills.
11.292 51
 
Unfortunately, although a significant proportion of whites areeducation-ally disadvantaged, minorities are currently the leastadvantaged in terms of skill levels and education. Studies haveshown that only about three fifths of whites, two fifths of Hispanics, and one quarter of blacks could find informa-tion in anews article or almanac; only 25 percent of whites, 7 percent of Hispanics, and 3 percent of blacks could interpret a busschedule; and only 44 percent of whites, 20 percent of Hispan-ics, and 8 percent of blacks could fig-ure out the change they wereowed from buying two items.In recent years, moreover, an especially troublesome obstacle that work-ing women face has been brought to light: sexualharassment. Forty-two per-cent of all women working for thefederal government reported that they had experienced someform of uninvited and unwanted sexual attention, ranging fromsexual remarks to attempted rape or assault. Women working asexecu-tives, prison guards, and even as rabbis, have reportedbeing sexually ha-rassed. Victims of such verbal or physicalforms of sexual harassment were most likely to be single ordivorced, between the ages of 20 and 44, have some collegeeducation, and work in a predominantly male environ- ment orfor a male supervisor.In 1992 about 5000 complaints of sexual harassment were filed with the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and thou-sands of other complaints were lodged with state civil rights commissions.It is clear, then, that unless a number of current trends change, women and minorities, who will comprise the bulk of new  workers between now and the end of the century, will findthemselves in highly disadvantaged positions as they enter the workforce. The various statistical comparisons that we have examined,together with the extensive research showing that thesedifferences are not because of any simple way to differences inpreferences or abilities, indicate that American business institu-tions incorporate some degree of systematic discrimination,much of it, perhaps, an unconscious relic of the past. Whether we compare av-erage incomes, proportional representation in thehighest economic positions, or proportional representation inthe lowest economic positions, it turns out that women andminorities are not equal to white males, and the last twenty yearshave seen but small narrowing of the racial and sexual gaps.Moreover, a number of ominous trends indicate that unless weembark on some major changes, the situation for minorities and women will not improve.Of course, finding that our economic institutions as a whole stillembody a great deal of discrimination does not show that any particular business is dis-criminatory. To find out whether aparticular firm is discriminatory, we would have to make the samesorts of comparisons among the various employment levels of the firm that we made above among the various economic andoccu-pation all levels of American society as a whole. To facilitatesuch comparisons within firms, employers today are required toreport to the government the numbers of minorities and womentheir firm employs in each of nine cate- gories: officials andmanagers, professionals, technicians, sales workers, office andclerical workers, skilled craft workers, semiskilled operatives,unskilled la-borers, and service workers.
Overview
Studies indicate that even after taking into account male andfemale differences in education, work experience, work continuity, self-imposed work restrictions, and absenteeism,a gap between the earnings of men and women remains, thatcan only be accounted for by discrimination in the labormarket.
Activity
Discuss the types of job discrimination. How can we determinejob discrimination?
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