Gender

Los Angeles Controller's Report Says City Doesn't Pay or Hire Women Enough

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Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin released a report Wednesday that found the city has "fallen short of its goals" to recruit and hire more women and promote women to well-paying jobs.

"The city employs almost 50,000 public servants, but the striking gender gap in our workforce does not reflect the communities we serve or the values we promote," Galperin said. "Not enough women work at the city and those that do aren't getting the promotional opportunities they should."

Galperin said despite attempts to change the status quo over the past five years, women remain both underrepresented and underpaid compared to their male co-workers.

"The city needs to overhaul the way women are recruited, hired, promoted and paid," Galperin said. "Only by acting more aggressively to address the vast disparities that exist today will Los Angeles start to close its pay and representation gap and provide women with better opportunities to succeed in the future."

According to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau study, women earn less than 82 cents for every dollar earned by men in the United States, the controller stated. While the gap is slightly narrower in California, the city of Los Angeles has not kept pace with the state or the nation.

Galperin's report listed the ways the city's female employees are underpaid as:

-- Women working for the city on average earn 76% of what men make;

-- In 2019, women took home just 24% of the gross amount the city paid its employees;

-- Women earned 9% of the $884 million in overtime paid by the city in 2019, with men getting $801.5 million, or 91% of all overtime; and,

-- Only two of the 100 highest paid city of Los Angeles employees in 2019 were women.

Galperin said women represent 28% of the city's total workforce, the same amount as in 2015 when the Mayor Eric Garcetti's office issued an executive directive to improve gender equity across departments.

Within some of the city's largest departments, women's representation is even worse at 22% at the Department of Water and Power, 23% at the Department of Public Works and 21% at the Department of General Services, the controller's report found.

In contrast, 65% of all Controller's Office employees are women, Galperin said.

Women are just 3% percent of sworn Los Angeles Fire Department employees, 3% of building inspectors at the Department of Building and Safety and 18% of sworn Los Angeles Police Department employees, Galperin said.

Out of 18 elected officials in the city of Los Angeles, two are women.

"The Board of Women in Homeland Security, Southern California, applauds Controller Galperin for issuing this report, highlighting the disparities in pay and representation for women in the City workforce and leadership positions," said Rita Burke, president of Women in Homeland Security, Southern California. "As an organization of women in homeland security and public safety, we are committed to supporting all women and the city of Los Angeles as they work together to bridge the gender equity gap."

Galperin recommended the city take steps toward achieving gender equity, such as:

-- Develop a strategic plan with clear and specific goals and targets to recruit, hire, develop and retain women in departments across the city; -- Create a working group of city officials and community and labor partners to design a clear pathway to help women participate in all job classifications and promotional opportunities, focused especially on higher paying jobs with access to overtime; and,

-- Require the largest city departments to submit annual reports on their efforts to attract more women to entry-level jobs that traditionally have been dominated by men.

The controller's report on gender equity in the city's workforce is titled "Closing the Gap: Women's Pay and Representation at the City of L.A."

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