The Retail Race Divide: How the Retail Industry Is Perpetuating Racial Inequality in the 21st Century

Source: Catherine Ruetschlin, Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, NAACP & Dēmos, 2015

From the summary:
This paper examines the differences in retail workers’ occupations, earnings, and schedules to reveal how employment in the retail industry fails to meet the needs of the Black and Latino workforce and, as a result, perpetuates racial inequality. Consistent disparities in labor market outcomes demonstrate the failure of markets to advance racial equity since the 1960s, even after decades of equality in law. As one of the largest sources of new employment in the US economy, and the second-largest industry for Black employment in the country, the problems of occupational segregation, low pay, unstable schedules, and involuntary part-time work among Black and Latino retail staff point to an important chance for employers to make a real impact on racial inequality by paying living wages and offering stable, adequate hours for all retail workers.

• Black retail workers share the attributes of the overall retail workforce, but face worse outcomes. …..
• Retail employers sort Black and Latino retail workers into lower-paid positions and away from supervisory roles. …..
• A racial wage divide exists in the front-line retail salesforce. …..
• Black and Latino workers face greater costs associated with part-time and “just-in-time” scheduling. …..
• Retailers have an opportunity to make changes that will reduce racial disparities and improve living standards overall. …..