December 8, 2022 is Latina Equal Pay Day. That means the average Latina needed to work all of 2021 and most of 2022 to earn what the average white, non-Hispanic man earned in 2021 alone.
To put it another way, Latinas earn 54 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men earn. In comparison, the average woman earns 83 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. This demonstrates the importance of looking at gender pay equity from an intersectional standpoint.
The state of the wage gap for Latinas
Latinas face both gender and racial biases in the workplace, contributing to a significant wage gap which also varies by:
- Employment status. Latinas working full time, year round earn 57 cents for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. But that decreases to 54 cents for Latinas working full time, year-round and part-time. Over 1 in 8 Latinas working part time (12.9%) want to be working more hours but are unable to do so, leading to wider pay disparities within this demographic group.
- Motherhood. Latina mothers working full time, year round are paid just 47 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers. This results in an annual loss of $38,000.
- Location. Latinas in California earn just 42 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, while Latinas in Vermont earn 70 cents.
- Community. Honduran and Guatemalan women typically earn less than half (44% and 47%, respectively) of what white, non-Hispanic men earn.
- Occupation. Latina nurses earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by white men in nursing roles, while white women earn 86 cents. Latina K-12 teachers earn 85 cents for every dollar earned by white men in cashier roles, and white women earn 91 cents.
- Job level. Latinas in manager roles earn 64 cents for every dollar earned by white men in manager roles. By contrast, white women in manager roles earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by white men in the same job level.
- Education. There’s a 21% pay gap between Latinas and white men with less than a high school diploma, but that grows to a 31% gap between Latinas and white men with a bachelor’s degree.
It’s time to close the pay gap for Latinas
There are no shortage of ways to address the pay gap for Latinas, though a few best practices stand out:
1. Create and update a formal compensation strategy
Build salary bands and job grades to guide you toward making more equitable compensation decisions. Keep them updated, especially as wage growth is still near record-highs, and make adjustments to current team members’ salaries as needed. This can help close the wage gap for Latinas within a given occupation or job level.
2. Run regular pay equity analyses
Between hiring, exits, promotions, and raises, the state of your internal pay equity is constantly in flux. Regular pay equity analyses will help you spot inequities so you can address them. Just remember to look at intersectional groups as part of these analyses so you don’t miss discrepancies among the most impacted groups. If you look at women or the Latinx communities separately, you could miss the much larger wage gap Latinas face from identifying with both demographics.
3. Promote and hire Latinas into leadership roles
For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 75 Latinas are promoted, which can limit the average lifetime earning potential for this demographic group. Provide career development, mentoring, and sponsorship to more Latinas to help them progress into leadership roles. Track promotion rates and time to promotion by intersectional group so you can identify and address inequitable internal mobility practices.
4. Increase Latina representation
Look at the population demographics for your company’s geographic area and compare it to the representation of Latinas at each job level within your team. Or if you’ve embraced remote work, see how your team’s demographics compare to that of the entire population.
Hire and promote Latinas where you identify low representation. This is especially impactful in higher-paying industries and job functions where Latinas have been historically underrepresented. Addressing occupational segregation and the opportunity gap are the most important steps you can take to close the Latina wage gap.
Final thoughts on Latina Equal Pay Day
The pay gap for Latinas typically amounts to a loss of $2,477 every month, $29,724 every year, and $1,188,960 over a 40-year career. Assuming a Latina and her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart both begin work at age 20, the wage gap means a Latina would have to work until she is nearly 90 years old to be paid what a white, non-Hispanic man has been paid by age 60. That’s six years beyond her life expectancy.
Even if your organization has reached internal pay equity, there may still be more you can do to close the external wage gap and make Equal Pay Days a thing of the past. This is particularly true for organizations in high-paying industries or with high-paying roles. Hiring and promoting more Latinas to increase representation at every level can help put an end to the unfair wage gap Latinas face.