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People of Color Are Less Likely to Receive a Raise at Work When They Ask

The fact that people of color are paid less than white people is well-documented. But new research suggests that simply speaking up will not solve the problem.


According to an analysis from PayScale, people of color are less likely than white people to receive a raise when they ask for one. To be exact, women of color are 19 percent less likely to receive a raise than white men. The problem is even worse for men of color, who find themselves 25 percent less likely to be awarded a raise.

Ruchika Tulshyan, author of “The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality In The Workplace,” said of the results: “Negotiation is a remedy that has worked for white men to raise their salaries, but it is not one that is universally applicable, particularly when bias is at play.”

The most common answer that people get when they are denied a raise is “budgetary constraints”; however, less than 1 in 4 workers believe that. Lydia Frank, vice president of content strategy at PayScale, said, “Everyone’s asking, but they’re getting different answers, I think with the current climate in this country and the systemic racism that we’ve seen in other areas, I don’t think it’s terribly surprising.”

Why ask for a raise if the odds are stacked against you You have a 7 in 10 chance of coming out of that meeting with more money in your paycheck. It may just be less than you were banking on. But if you are a woman, regardless of ethnicity, you are most likely going to get paid less than a man.

For most executives it is unconscious bias. Frank went on to say: “Humans take shortcuts without even realizing it. There are things that happen in their brain — ‘Hey I’ve seen somebody like this before and this is what I associate with somebody like this’ — there may be things happening there without you even being fully aware of it that you’re making a judgment about somebody.”

According to NBC, at this rate Black women will have to wait 106 years before their wages catch up to those of white men. Hispanic people will have to wait until 2248 for equal wages and white women, who are in comparatively good shape, will have to wait until 2056.

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