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Diversity & Inclusion

Black at Work: A First Look At Black Employees' Experiences

Posted by Dominique Fluker

Content Marketing Manager, Editorial

Last Updated February 19, 2021
|5 min read

In addition to the new Diversity & Inclusion features, our Glassdoor Economic Research team recently published a preliminary analysis on how Black employees’ workplace satisfaction differs from other employees. The analysis shows overall company ratings by Black employees are below average: 3.3 ratings compared to the Glassdoor average of 3.5 ratings. This means that, overall, Black employees are less satisfied (3.3 ratings) at work when compared to all employees (3.5 ratings). However, job satisfaction among Black employees varies widely by company. 

The research analyzed 28 employers, each with at least 15 ratings from U.S.-based Black employees. When comparing Black employee ratings to a comparison group of people who self-identified as non-Black, the report found job satisfaction was lower at 11 of the 28 companies. Alternatively, if Black employee ratings are compared to overall company averages displayed on Glassdoor (which includes all employees and does not take into account whether demographics were shared or not), job satisfaction for Black employees is lower at 21 of the 28 companies.  Technology giant Apple had the highest overall company rating among Black employees with a 4.2 rating.

While these new data on Glassdoor ratings by race/ethnicity are preliminary, they already reveal important differences in the lived employee experiences by people of different race and ethnic groups in America. This new analysis shows a powerful new way to use anonymous employee ratings data to offer an inside look into what’s really going at companies according to those who know best — the employees — while also measuring progress, or lack thereof, in company diversity and inclusion commitments.  

A stark reality of workplace culture is that not all employees experience culture in the same way. The experiences of different demographic groups inside companies — employees of different races/ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientation and more — are not all the same. As workplace inequities in hiring, pay, promotion, and job satisfaction receive long-overdue and broader attention, many companies have pledged to address these disparities. Unfortunately, little data has been available to date to help shed light on the size and scope of workplace inequality by race, gender, or other characteristics, or whether they are improving or worsening. 

One important factor when examining race in the workplace is that Black or African American workers aren’t represented equally among occupations. According to the BLS, Black or African American workers are sharply underrepresented in management and professional occupations — which tend to have high reported job satisfaction — and over-represented in lower-paid service jobs tending to have lower job satisfaction ratings. Today, about 32 percent of Black or African American employees work in management or professional jobs, compared to 41 percent for white employees. Similarly, 24 percent of Black or African American employees work in lower-paid service occupations, compared to 16 percent for white employees. This clustering into certain types of jobs (and not others) likely has a big impact on job satisfaction — and pay — among Black or African American workers. 

Inequities in the job market also show up in the varied work cultures experienced by different demographic groups. Academic research shows that employee satisfaction can vary widely among race and ethnic groups. Some studies show that employees from underrepresented backgrounds can have starkly different opinions than white employees about the success of company diversity and inclusion policies. And surveys routinely show that workers from different race/ethnicity groups often disagree about the degree of inequity within workplaces. 

Until now, job seekers have had access to very little information about how diverse racial/ethnic groups experience company cultures differently. With the launch of our new diversity and inclusion features,  Glassdoor Economic Research is finally able to share some early data offering deeper insights and more transparency into how experiences at work differ across different groups of people.

A First Look at Glassdoor Ratings by Race/Ethnicity

The table below shows average company Glassdoor ratings from employees who’ve self-identified as Black or African American as compared to ratings from employees at the same company who’ve identified as other races/ethnicities. This table includes only a select group of employers for whom Glassdoor has received ratings from at least 15 U.S.-based Black or African American employees. In addition to average ratings, the table also shows the ratio of Black employees’ overall 1 to 5 ratings to a comparison group of all other employee ratings. In that column, a ratio greater than 1 means Black or African American employees reported higher job satisfaction than employees in other demographic groups at the same company. For context, in the right column researchers also included current company ratings from all employees as displayed on Glassdoor, allowing a comparison of how satisfied all employees (from all time periods) are compared to the research sample of self-identified Black or African American employees. 

A First Look at Glassdoor Ratings by Race/Ethnicity: How Satisfied Are Black or African American Employees at Work?

Employer Name Overall Company Rating for Black or African American Employees Overall Company Rating for  Comparison Group Ratio of Black or African American Ratings to Comparison Group Number of Ratings from Black or African American Employees Average Overall Company Rating on Glassdoor
Allied Universal 3.4 3.1 1.10 15 3.1
Amazon 3.2 3.3 0.96 69 3.9
Apple 4.2 3.9 1.08 16 4.3
AT&T 3.3 3.0 1.11 44 3.5
Bank of America 4.0 3.5 1.12 21 3.9
Best Buy 3.6 3.7 0.96 19 3.9
Capital One 3.9 4.1 0.94 17 4.1
Citi 3.4 3.4 0.99 18 3.9
Comcast 3.2 3.6 0.89 23 3.7
CVS Health 2.8 2.6 1.11 25 3.0
Deloitte 3.7 3.8 0.98 15 3.9
IBM 3.7 3.1 1.22 15 3.9
J.P. Morgan 3.8 3.8 1.01 17 4.0
Kroger 3.6 3.2 1.11 21 3.2
Lowe's 3.6 3.5 1.03 25 3.4
Macy's 2.7 3.2 0.84 29 3.4
McDonald's 3.3 3.3 0.99 34 3.5
Nordstrom 3.2 3.6 0.88 15 3.7
Starbucks 3.9 3.8 1.02 21 3.8
State Farm 3.4 3.3 1.04 16 3.6
Target 3.8 3.6 1.05 33 3.6
The Home Depot 3.7 3.7 0.98 26 3.7
UPS 3.4 3.5 0.98 28 3.6
US Postal Service 3.1 3.0 1.02 18 2.9
Verizon 3.5 3.4 1.03 30 3.9
Walgreens 3.0 3.0 1.00 25 3.2
Walmart 3.2 3.2 1.02 67 3.3
Wells Fargo 3.3 3.2 1.02 22 3.7

“We are just beginning to understand the complexity that makes up the employee experience. Glassdoor is delivering a deeper look inside the modern workplace by unlocking insights into how employees feel about diversity, equity and inclusion and by displaying employees' differing sentiment and pay,” said Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor Chief Executive Officer. “Increased workplace transparency can show us where we are strong and where we are weak.  It can help job seekers discover opportunities where they can thrive, and it can support employers in creating more equitable workplaces and communities.”  

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