Every day, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers wake up and go to work for the City that they love. They are our sanitation workers, our social service workers, our firefighters, and our custodians. They come from the City’s many diverse communities and bring a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience to their jobs. However, as has been true in industries across this country for generations, the compensation that these individuals receive for their hard work is not always equitable.
In 2018, the New York City Council heard and passed Local Law 18, which required the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics to report pay data from City agencies. The bill required the Mayoral Administration to provide the Council direct access to the data, so the Council could conduct its own statistical analysis and determine whether any disparities exist across gender, race, age, and other categories protected by the City’s Human Rights Law. In advancing Local Law 18, the Council recognized that the contributions of all employees, including non-white individuals and women, and especially non-white women, must be valued where it matters most – in their paychecks.
Of course, pay inequity is not a new problem. It is one that has evolved over time; and one that has become more difficult to identify as instances of direct wage discrimination have subsided. This report, like others before it, finds that individuals with the same civil service title generally receive equal pay. This success can be directly attributed to the strength of our unions and their ability to bargain collectively. However, our analysis also found that municipal employees are often concentrated in certain jobs along gender and racial lines, and that these jobs come with vastly different levels of compensation. Inequity in this form, known as occupational segregation, is not unique to the municipal workforce; however, government can and should lead the way in eradicating inequity wherever it arises.
Our municipal workforce came together like never before this past year as our City faced the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing meals to students and their families, staffing our testing and vaccination sites, and facing the virus head on when providing emergency services. The work these individuals do keeps the Greatest City in the World running, and it is only right that they be compensated equitably and fairly. However, we can only address these disparities if we know they exist. Identifying the ways in which inequity persists in our City’s pay structure, as set forth in this report and analysis, is therefore a necessary step toward ensuring that all our City’s employees are valued for their extraordinary contributions.
In 2019, the New York City Council passed Local Law 18 (the “Pay Equity Law” or “Local Law 18”), sponsored by Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, for the purpose of analyzing pay disparities based on race, ethnicity, gender, and other protected classes among employees of the City of New York (NYC).
The call for pay equity, or to provide “equal pay for equal work” in the United States is a multi-faceted and evolving problem that has persisted for generations. Federal, state, and local governments have attempted to address inequality in employment opportunities and unequal pay through various forms of anti-discrimination policies and legislation since the 19th century.However, those efforts—which have made it unlawful to discriminate in hiring or pay based on protected classes and have allowed individuals the opportunity to file complaints and take legal action if they have been discriminated against– while helpful, have not eliminated these issues.
Nationally, there continue to be significant wage gaps based on gender, race, and ethnicity. At the local level, the Council’s analysis revealed small wage gaps within the same positions in City government. Additionally, among New York City municipal employees, the analysis found that inequity continues to exist in the form of occupational segregation. That is, certain races, ethnicities, and genders are concentrated in certain positions within City government, and those positions and careers are compensated differently than jobs filled by a different demographic of employees. This siloing of demographic groups in particular types of work may contribute to inequity in compensation and exacerbate the pay gap.
The impact of inequity in compensation among the workforce affects more than just individual employees. In fact, studies have estimated that eliminating the pay gap could reduce child and family poverty by more than 40%. The salaries that families live on also affect the type of housing they can afford, the educational opportunities they have access to, the quality of the food they eat, the healthcare they receive, the transportation choices available to them, and the activities and experiences they have throughout their lifetimes. The lack of equal financial opportunity can therefore have a cyclical, generational impact; New York City—as the largest employer in the city—can and should play a vital role in ensuring equity for all New Yorkers.
The report outlines the Council’s analysis of pay among the NYC municipal workforce, including an overview of the Pay Equity Law, takeaways based on the dataset received, recommendations for achieving greater equity in City worker compensation, and areas for further analysis.
For purposes of this report, the “NYC municipal workforce” refers to employees represented in the dataset provided to the City Council pursuant to Local Law 18. For additional details on which employees this includes, see “Data, Limitations, and Methodology,”. The data reported by the Mayoral Administration pursuant to Local Law 18 requires the Mayoral Administration to provide data on “sex”; however, the data received was presented as “gender,” but uses the terms “male” and “female.” Additionally, race information was presented as: “White,” “Black or African American,” “Hispanic or Latino,” “Asian,” “Other,” and “Ethnicity Unknown or Chose Not to Disclose.” The Council’s analysis and this report thus also use these terms, to reflect the information exactly as it was provided by the Administration. For details on the grouping of race and ethnicity, see Appendix B.
Key Findings (2018)
There is a very large non-adjusted pay gap between Black or African American or Hispanic or Latino employees and white employees, and between male and female employees in the NYC municipal workforce.
This pay gap shrinks dramatically when comparing individuals in the same job title. This suggests that occupational segregation—the over- (or under-) representation of certain demographic categories of individuals in occupations that pay differently—remains a driving force of inequity among City employees.
Within the NYC municipal workforce, the median salary for male employees is $21,600 higher than the median salary for female employees, looking only at differences in salary by gender. However, a female employee with the same civil service title, who is in the same agency and has the same demographic characteristics as a male employee, would expect to make 99.6% the salary of a male employee.
Adjusted Pay Gap by Race/Ethnicity and Gender
Adjusted Cents on the Dollar Earned
However, a Black or African American employee with the same civil service title, who is in the same agency and has the same demographic characteristics as a white employee, would expect to make 98.6% the salary of a white employee.
A Hispanic or Latino employee with the same civil service title, who is in the same agency and has the same demographic characteristics as a non-Hispanic or Latino white employee would expect to make 98.9% the salary of a non-Hispanic or Latino white employee.
Non-Adjusted Pay Gap by Race/Ethnicity and Gender
Employee Pay by Gender: Female
Employee Pay by Gender: Male
For example, Black or African American female employees and Hispanic or Latino females are expected to make 1.9% and 1.5% less, respectively, than white male employees in the same positions; Black or African American male employees are expected to earn 1.2% less than white male employees in the same positions.
Median Salary by Race of City Workforce
Covered by Pay Equity Legislation
Civil Service Title Codes by Share of Non-White Female Employees per Title
The civil service titles with the highest median salaries have a smaller proportion of female and non-white employees.
Agency Findings and Other Takeaways
The Human Resources Administration (HRA) has the biggest difference between the proportion of Black or African American employees (53% of the agency) and the city’s labor force as a whole (18% of the entire labor force of NYC).
The median salary at FDNY is $85,292, while the median salary at HRA is $48,417.
Race/Ethnicity Breakdown of Top 5 Agencies
By Workforce Size
FNDY Salaries by Gender Composition
The median age of female employees is greater than the median age of male employees.
Black or African American female employees represent the largest proportion of female employees that are 60 years or older (50%).
The median salary of male employees over the age of 30 (~$85,000) is considerably higher than that of female employees over the age of 30 (~$60,000).
Median Salary and Size by Age Group
Uniformed vs Non-Uniformed Employees by Gender
At nearly every level of education, male employees have a higher median salary than female employees do. White employees always have a higher median salary than non-white employees do.
Female employees make up the majority of part-time employees by gender (70%); in comparison, they represent only 40% of full-time employees. Similarly, while Black or African American part-time employees are a plurality by race and ethnicity (41%), only 29% of full-time employees are Black or African American.
To allow future analyses to determine changes in pay year over year and provide a more complete picture of the City workforce, including insights into attrition, promotion, advancement, or hindrances in pay equity over time, the Council will consider legislation that clarifies and expands the Pay Equity Law to require the following additional information:
- Historical data regarding all prior City employees;
- Data on Department of Education (DOE) pedagogical employees;
- All agencies and employees found in the Department for Citywide Administrative Services’ (DCAS) NYC Government Workforce Profile Report
- Unique identifier for each employee;
- Current title entry date;
- Full leave status history, including the date and amount of leave taken and cause of leave (and specifically, whether the leave is related to new parenthood);
- Whether a civil service title is a promotional title;
- Business title;
- Union status, including unique code, description of the union representing the civil service title, and bargaining unit name;
- Overtime and benefit pay;
- Whether a civil service title is a uniformed position;
- Minimum education requirement for position and education level attained by employee.
Job Pipeline, Hiring Practices, and the Civil Service Exam System
- (i) Requiring all agencies to collect demographic information from applicants, in a non-personally identifiable manner, to assess diversity in the applicant pool; and
- (ii) Requiring admission and graduation statistics from all agency training programs required of successful civil service examinees.
The City should examine job postings and recruitment materials for municipal jobs to evaluate whether biases exist that may be turning away qualified applicants before they even consider applying.
The Council will consider legislation that expands Local Law 173 of 2018, which requires information about upcoming civil service exams be distributed to high school students in the year that they are graduating, to require DOE and DCAS to reach out to students earlier to make them aware of potential future career opportunities in the municipal workforce.
The Council will consider legislation that requires agencies, in conjunction with DCAS, to perform community outreach at periodic intervals within communities that have very low representation within their agencies.
The Council will consider legislation aimed at increasing the number of women and non- white employees in agencies demonstrating low levels of diversity. The legislation would require agencies to take actions such as developing a diversity plan, improving facilities, requiring diversity and inclusion training, and enhancing public reporting.
The Council will consider legislation that requires agencies, in conjunction with DCAS, to analyze the pay data of their current workforce and adjust salaries as necessary to achieve pay equity.
Comparable Worth Analysis
For feedback, comments, and questions please email DataInfo@council.nyc.gov.
Created by the NYC Council Data Team.