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Workplace discrimination still a problem, study finds

Wednesday, June 15, 2011  
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Although women account for half of the U.S. workforce and companies have become increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, inequalities in pay and career advancement remain, and feelings of discrimination are commonplace, according to a report by CareerBuilder.com.

In an online survey of 2,527 adult U.S. workers employed full time, CareerBuilder.com found that women and Hispanic workers were twice as likely to hold an administrative or clerical entry-level job as "non-diverse workers," which CareerBuilder.com defines as Caucasian males who are not disabled or part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

More than half of women, Hispanics and workers with disabilities reported earning less than $50,000 per year, compared to three-in-10 non-diverse workers, according to the survey.

CareerBuilder.com surveyed more than 1,300 diverse workers from six segments — African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, workers with disabilities and the LGBT community — between Feb.21 and March 10 to get a read on how their workplace experiences are changing.

Non-diverse workers and LGBT workers were most likely to hold management jobs, while Hispanic workers were the most likely to hold entry-level and administrative jobs. Still, certain diverse segments ranked higher than non-diverse workers in compensation. For instance, LGBT workers were more likely of all segments to earn six figures, according to the report.

"The U.S. workplace has experienced fundamental shifts over the last two decades that have had a major impact on business, including economic downturns, the introduction of new technology and the strengthening of laws designed to promote equality,” said Dr. Sanja Licina, senior director, talent intelligence and consulting at CareerBuilder. "While companies have made strides in creating an inclusive workplace for all workers, there is still work to be done, especially in the areas of hiring, compensation and career advancement.”

All diverse segments of the population reported feeling discriminated against at work, with African Americans feeling the most discriminated against, at 25 percent. They were followed by disabled workers, at 22 percent; Hispanic workers, at 21 percent; women at 19 percent; and LGBT workers at 18 percent.

More than half of non-diverse workers feel diverse workers have a better chance of landing new jobs; one-third of diverse workers agree. However, two-thirds of diverse workers don’t market themselves as diverse when looking for a position. Of these workers, 25 percent believe marketing themselves as diverse will lessen their chances of getting a job interview.

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