Advancing Equity

The Problem

Women hold nearly two-thirds of the 40 lowest-paying jobs; Black workers are overrepresented in industries that pay less than $30,000/year on average. Changing these disparities requires a deliberate effort to address the systemic inequality and occupational segregation many workers face. Job quality approaches will be incomplete if they don't understand, acknowledge, and address equity (across race/gender/other priority populations), causing harm to those most impacted by low-quality jobs.

Why This Matters

Where good jobs exist and who has access to them is directly connected to racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. Workforce agencies must prioritize equity in their job quality strategies. This means designing and implementing interventions with and for those disproportionately represented in low-quality jobs, setting goals to address current and historical inequity, and tracking access/outcomes metrics by race and gender—addressing disparity along the way.

The Solution

Building an equitable job quality strategy requires an understanding of labor market inequalities and an acknowledgement of the current and historical racism and sexism that continue to impact workers in the United States. Once racism, sexism and other discriminatory practices are identified, job quality initiatives should take deliberate steps to center their efforts on equity:

  • Use local data and examples to bring equity and job quality initiatives together

  • Develop job quality strategies (frameworks, standards and goals) with a focus on equity

  • Develop and implementing policies and practices that address equity within each component of your job quality framework

  • Obtain regular feedback from those most underrepresented in high-quality jobs

  • Set meaningful goals for specific priority populations, including those defined by race and gender

  • Budget and funding programs based on goals for priority population

  • Disaggregate measurement and outcomes reporting by race and gender

These steps outline how to center job quality initiatives on equity for the long term, ensuring that your efforts positively affect residents and communities most impacted by low quality jobs.

Recommended actions can help workforce and economic development agencies advance strategies to finance their job quality strategy for the long term.