Black at Work: A First Look at Glassdoor Ratings by Race/Ethnicity

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain and Amanda Stansell

February 17, 2021

Key Findings: 

            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 inequity by race, gender, or other characteristics, or whether they are improving or worsening. 

            Today, for the first time, Glassdoor has launched company ratings broken out by specific employee demographic groups within companies. This expands on Glassdoor’s Fall 2020 initiative enabling U.S.-based employees and job seekers to voluntarily and anonymously share their demographic information when leaving company ratings and salaries on Glassdoor. One of the main goals of this ongoing initiative is to help the American public understand where inequities exist within the workforce today, and to provide guidance and objective markers as to which companies are delivering on their diversity and inclusion commitments and which are not.

            In honor of Black History Month 2021, today we are revealing Glassdoor employer ratings by race/ethnicity. This is a historic first for our economic research team. In this post, we’ll give you a preliminary tour of the data we’ve collected so far, which offers an early look at never-before-explored patterns in workplace culture and satisfaction by race/ethnicity in America. 

            Because these data on user demographic characteristics are particularly sensitive, our research team took extensive precautions as part of our comprehensive review process to protect the identity of anonymous Glassdoor users. We used only personally de-identified data, accessed within a highly secure computing environment.  Before publishing these findings, review and feedback was solicited and taken into account from Glassdoor’s own Diversity and Inclusion team and Glassdoor’s Black employee resource group, BUILD (Blacks United in Leadership and Development).

            Some Facts About Race at Work

            Before digging into our preliminary Glassdoor data on race/ethnicity at work, let’s set the stage with a few facts about race in the U.S. job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Black or African Americans made up about 12.6 percent of the labor force in 2019, or about 20.6 million of the nation’s 163.5 million workers.(2) And data show that the labor market experiences of these more than 20 million Black or African American workers differ markedly from other demographic groups in America. 

            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 Glassdoor’s new diversity and inclusion features,  we’re 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

            Let’s have a look at the Glassdoor company ratings data we’ve collected since Fall 2020, when we began enabling people to anonymously contribute demographic information. At the time of this writing, people on Glassdoor have so far contributed more than 800,000 demographic insights from more than 187,000 employees at over 3,300 companies. In this first post, we focus on early patterns we’re seeing in company ratings by race/ethnicity, with a focus on the Black or African American employee experience compared to other employees. 

            The table below shows average company Glassdoor ratings from employees who’ve self-identified as Black or African American(3) as compared to ratings from employees at the same company who’ve identified as other races/ethnicities.(4) This table includes only a select group of employers for whom we’ve 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.(5) 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 we’ve 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 our 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 NameOverall Company Rating for Black or African American EmployeesOverall Company Rating for  Comparison GroupRatio of Black or African American Ratings to Comparison GroupNumber of Ratings from Black or African American EmployeesAverage Overall Company Rating on Glassdoor
            Allied Universal3.43.11.10153.1
            Bank of America4.03.51.12213.9
            Best Buy3.63.70.96193.9
            Capital One3.94.10.94174.1
            CVS Health2.82.61.11253.0
            J.P. Morgan3.83.81.01174.0
            State Farm3.43.31.04163.6
            The Home Depot3.73.70.98263.7
            US Postal Service3.13.01.02182.9
            Wells Fargo3.33.21.02223.7
            Note: Table shows mean overall company rating for approved U.S. Glassdoor ratings as of January 26, 2021 for a sample of employers for whom at least 15 employer ratings from self-identified Black or African American employees were available. Comparison group consists of employer ratings submitted by employees who self-identified as any other race/ethnicity. These ratings include all employment statuses, such as regular, part-time, and intern. Overall average company rating is the publicly displayed company rating that appeared on Glassdoor as of January 30, 2020 and encompasses all ratings, including those not associated with a race/ethnicity.  When visiting Glassdoor, ratings may differ from what appears in this table as company ratings and user demographics continue to be submitted over time. 
            Source: Glassdoor Economic Research ( 

            Some Patterns in the Data

                    Where Is Big Tech? 

                    Of the 28 employers we examined with at least 15 Black or African American employee ratings, only three are in the tech industry. This is partly due to underrepresentation by Black or African Americans in tech. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black and African Americans accounted for just 9 percent  of workers in information technology occupations in 2019, despite making up nearly 13 percent of the U.S. workforce. Unfortunately, most major U.S. tech employers had insufficient data on Glassdoor from Black or African American employees to be included in our analysis at this time. 

                    Limitations to Keep in Mind

                    When thinking about these trends, it’s important to keep in mind the data sources, namely company ratings sorted by employee race/ethnicity. Further, this analysis is based on a preliminary look at a new data source. Because these data are so new — having been collected within just the last four months — it’s important to resist the urge to make sweeping claims based on early data. The averages we’ve reported above are not derived from representative probability samples of company workforces — they represent data shared anonymously by Glassdoor users at this time. Readers should therefore take some caution in making conclusive, company-wide inferences about the state of race and employee satisfaction.  

                    Although our data are preliminary, they begin to reveal stark differences in Glassdoor ratings among race/ethnicity — until now something no researcher has been able to explore. As we continue to expand these data in coming months and years, we are excited about the potential for using this additional information to usher in a new era of data-driven transparency and understanding into how well companies are living up to their diversity and inclusion commitments. 


                    In this report we’ve taken a first look at a powerful new data source from Glassdoor: Company ratings by the race/ethnicity of employees. The data reveal important differences in Glassdoor ratings by race for the first time, with overall Black or African American company ratings below the overall Glassdoor rating as of January 2021 (3.3 rating, compared the overall Glassdoor rating of 3.5 out of 5). However, our data show there is no one uniform “Black or African American experience” at work — company ratings among Black or African American employees vary widely compared to non-Black employees among the 28 employers we examined. 

                    While these data are preliminary, they are suggestive of meaningful gaps in workplace culture as experienced by employees of different race/ethnicity groups at America’s largest employers — a phenomenon we hope to explore further as more detailed data become available, as well as exploring other aspects of how workplace culture is experienced by different demographic groups,  including by gender identity, parenthood status, LGBTQ status, veteran status, age and more. 

                    Note: Please consider contributing to this research by sharing your demographic information anonymously on Glassdoor. Your contribution helps us build the anonymized data resources that power research like this into understanding how demographics impact pay and culture at work. 

                    For more information, please see our media release about how to view Glassdoor company ratings and salaries by employee demographic groups, and view these first-person stories about underrepresented groups in the workplace. 


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