Women and minorities who work in the California restaurant industry are commonly subjected to discrimination, particularly when it comes to job opportunities and wages, a new study from U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Santa Cruz reveals.
This study, entitled Ending Jim Crow in America’s Restaurants: Racial & Gender Occupational Segregation in the Restaurant Industry, reportedly discovered that, while white males in the restaurant industry in California earn the highest wages, women and minorities generally:
- Only earn a fraction of what white male restaurant workers earn
- Are not offered the same positions or opportunities for advancement as white males.
Explaining these findings in the Executive Summary of the study, researchers noted that:
While Jim Crow regulated the enforced separation between white and African American patrons in restaurants, today we largely find that restaurant workers are effectively segregated by race and gender by a partition between livable-wage server and bartender positions and poverty wage busser, runner, and kitchen positions, and between limited service (fast food), full service casual, and full service fine-dining restaurants.
White males appear to be afforded the opportunity to work in the highest paying, most exclusive bartender and server positions in fine-dining restaurants; women, in general, appear channeled towards lower paying positions in casual full-service restaurants; while Latinos and African Americans seem largely channeled to lower paying busser, runner, or kitchen positions in full service restaurants and to limited-service, fast food establishments
As a result of extensive quantitative data analysis, researchers conducting this study specifically found that:
- While the average hourly wage for a white male restaurant worker in California is $14.18, non-white males earned about 18 percent less, with an average hourly wage of $11.63.
- Women, in general, earned less than men in the California restaurant industry, with white women earning an average hourly wage of $11.30 and non-white women earning an average wage of $10.13.
- In terms of management positions, more than 80 percent of these jobs were filled by white workers, with the majority of these employees being male.
- In terms of restaurant kitchen and back-of-house jobs, minorities tended to hold these positions, with Hispanic workers occupying about 65 percent of these positions.
- In general, front-of-house restaurant workers tend to earn about 12 percent more than back-of-house workers.
Commenting on these findings, U.C. Santa Cruz Researcher Chris Benner explained that:
What became clear in interviews is that it’s a complex issue… Each of these actors have real barriers as well as perceived barriers to getting higher pay. … A lot more research has to happen.
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