Research Report Job Quality and Race and Gender Equity
Understanding the Link between Job Quality and Occupational Crowding
Ofronama Biu, Batia Katz, Afia Adu-Gyamfi, Molly M. Scott
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Job quality is important for worker well-being. However, all occupations are not equal in quality, and quality employment is distributed unevenly by race and gender. We conducted a review of major definitions of job quality across multiple fields and identified the following main dimensions of quality: pay, hours, scheduling, benefits, job security, working conditions, on-the-job training, advancement, and worker voice. We then measured these job-quality indicators in 108 occupations and developed a combined job-quality score. We also looked at occupational crowding—how people are over-, under-, or proportionally represented in roles taking educational requirements and educational attainment into account—for Black women, Black men, Latinx women, Latinx men, white women, and white men.

We find that as job-quality scores increase—indicating higher-quality roles—the representation of Black women, Black men, Latinx women, Latinx men, and white women decreases significantly when compared with white men. In contrast, higher-quality roles tend to have a higher concentration of white men. We find the same results when examining wages.

This research sheds light on the importance of improving job quality across multiple dimensions to reduce occupational disparities by race and gender.

Research Areas Race and equity Workforce Economic mobility and inequality
Tags Race, gender, class, and ethnicity Job markets and labor force Job quality and workplace standards Workers in low-wage jobs Building America’s Workforce
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center
Research Methods Data collection Data analysis
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