Hidden Faces Behind Statistics: African American Unemployment And Underemployment

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Hidden Faces Behind Statistics: African American Unemployment And Underemployment

Although, many Americans see the U.S. economic situation as ‘improving,’ the African American community might say otherwise. National statistics pins unemployment at 5% for the population as whole, but while it is at 4.5% for whites, it is almost 10% for blacks.

The gap between the black and white employment rates is huge, but what could be the cause? Could it be educational differences or racism and sexism? According to the data obtained from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), for black Americans with the same or even higher educational degrees than white Americans, the unemployment rate has always been twice as high. The unemployment rate for uneducated blacks (or with no high school diploma) is 16.6% while the rate for whites in the same category is 6.9%.

The unemployment rate for blacks who have high school diploma is 9.6% while amongst whites it is 4.6%. Blacks that have acquired some college experience have an unemployment rate of 7.4%, while it is just 4% for whites of the same category. In the class of those who have bachelors degrees or even higher, blacks have an unemployment rate of about 4.1% whereas the white rate is almost half of that at 2.4%.

According to an economist, Valerie Wilson, the problem of higher unemployment rates among African Americans isn’t entirely about educational attainments alone. The problem begins when the job hunting commences. As is seen in the statistics, there is the preconceived notion that blacks are more “unemployable” than whites: blacks that are highly educated are always twice as likely to be “unemployable” than whites.

Even white Americans who have criminal records in their history are more than three times more likely to be called back to their place of employment than blacks.

There is a systematic level of racism in Corporate America and beyond that makes it impossible to hire, nurture and retain minority talent and until that changes the above mentioned statistics will continue and, may even worsen. We are in a current day society where there is no hiding place for the truth about issues of nepotism, sameness hiring built on race and gender that is eating away the fabric of America’s economy.

Even where blacks are better qualified for a particular position, a less qualified white has a better chance of securing the job which says a lot.

According to a researcher John Schmitt, “College degrees do have value. However, what we are trying to show here is that this is not about individuals or individual effort. There is purely devastating indication that discrimination remains a key feature of the labor market.” That single statement is entirely correct in every aspect.

In a book written in 2013 by Nancy DiTomaso, a professor at Rutgers University, “The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism,” she concluded that the marginalization of blacks might not be a result of intent but informal networks. Since whites hold most decision-making posts, they tend to distribute this advantage mostly towards their friends and families.

What we need is a culture shift where people see value in differences and where diversity of thought and experience matters. Companies are showing signs of movement on this issues as written in many of my previous articles. We are seeing a small percentage of African Americans in managerial roles and trailblazing certain industries but, we still have a long way to go to change individual perceptions that steer and govern company hires.

I am president and owner of A. Solomon Recruits, a 100% minority, woman search boutique that places diverse candidates in the Finance and Fintech spaces. Also, a career coach and blogger. I am a career catalyst and a true champion for diversify Wall Street initiatives and gender equity. I offer game changing, disruptive insight on all things applicable to recruiting, inclusion and career tips. If you like my writings and would like to continue reading then like, comment and follow me: https://www.facebook.com/Cocktails-Career-Talk-534763273361609/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/CocktailsCTalk

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