According to a new report of 2018 and 2019 data, there was an extremely apparent and disproportionate gap between the hiring of Black women and their counterparts for state and local government jobs. Most prominently, the data noted that within those two years, Black women were 58% less likely to be hired for a government job in comparison to white men in its study of over 16 million qualified applicants.
As found in data from GovernmentJobs.com that was analyzed by The New York Times, “in a survey of 2,700 applicants, nearly a third said they thought they were more likely to be discriminated against in the private sector than in the public.” Regarding where Black Americans leveled in that information, the publication highlighted that the community is 13% of the country’s population but “rely disproportionately on state and local government jobs, making 28% of the applications for positions.”
While “qualified women were 27% less likely to be hired than qualified men” overall, the NYTimes specified that government jobs are a “sector [that] has historically been more welcoming for women and African-Americans, offering an entryway into the middle class.” For the Black women who are at the crux of that intersection, the sector — albeit difficult to get into — has been that much more of a helpful one in giving them stable and reliable work to support their families.
Concerning those who were able to be hired at one point or another for a government job, as with all industries, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on the number of people employed in the sector. According to the NYTimes, “nearly 1.4 million of the 5.9 million jobs that have disappeared over the past year came from state and local” government workforces.
When discussing why bias might be more strong against Black women during the hiring process for those positions, the publication emphasized that within the new study’s data, Black women had a higher likelihood of being called in for an interview if “all personally identifying information was withheld during the application screening process — so recruiters did not know a candidates name, race, and gender.”
Essentially, Black women are being written off as potential candidates for the governmental positions they apply for — despite being qualified for them — solely based on the things that make them who they are. At the end of the day, it’s become increasingly clear that Black women in the workforce need to protect their job statuses now more than ever — and “lift as they climb” whenever they can.