Demographics Alert: Black Women In the Workforce

Here is a bit of “environmental scanning” for you. According to a recent story in Workforce Magazine black women have borne the brunt of job loss since the ressession began. Eliza Ronalds-Hanson writes in Black Women Lost More Jobs During Recovery While the recession hit black men harder than any other group, the economic recovery has shifted that impact to their female counterparts, according to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center, which shows that black women have lately seen their unemployment rate rise even as other populations—including black men—have finally begun to regain jobs.”
There appears to be several different reasons for this. First is that many black women, in fact women in general, have jobs in the public sector. This was one of the early areas that adopted non-discriminatory hiring and women had greater opportunities in government jobs, including education. As governments have had to cut back the jobs lost have been primarily those held by women and black women in particular.
Secondly, there is a social movement to get black men re-employed. For example, “…New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this month introduced his Young Men’s Initiative program—which will spend $127.5 million to improve education, job placement, health and criminal justice outcomes for young black and Hispanic men…. some advocates lament the failure to address women’s economic struggles.” Similar movements have occurred in the Atlanta area. Some anecdotal evidence from interviews showed that black women were being told that employers felt it was more important to employee men these days. Of course that totally ignores the data that show that black women make up over 52% of heads of household in the African-American population.
Obviously the solution to this problem is more job creation. But employers need to realize that there is an increasingly large talent pool that needs to be judged by their capabilities and not by their demographics. So as you create jobs in your businesses broaden your recruitment net.

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