Analysis of pay differences in the New York City municipal workforce
NY City Council
Dear New Yorkers,
Every day, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers wake up and go to work for the City that they love. They are our sanitation workers, our social service workers, our firefighters, and our custodians. They come from the City’s many diverse communities and bring a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience to their jobs. However, as has been true in industries across this country for generations, the compensation that these individuals receive for their hard work is not always equitable.
In 2018, the New York City Council heard and passed Local Law 18, which required the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics to report pay data from City agencies. The bill required the Mayoral Administration to provide the Council direct access to the data, so the Council could conduct its own statistical analysis and determine whether any disparities exist across gender, race, age, and other categories protected by the City’s Human Rights Law. In advancing Local Law 18, the Council recognized that the contributions of all employees, including non-white individuals and women, and especially non-white women, must be valued where it matters most – in their paychecks.
Of course, pay inequity is not a new problem. It is one that has evolved over time; and one that has become more difficult to identify as instances of direct wage discrimination have subsided. This report, like others before it, finds that individuals with the same civil service title generally receive equal pay. This success can be directly attributed to the strength of our unions and their ability to bargain collectively. However, our analysis also found that municipal employees are often concentrated in certain jobs along gender and racial lines, and that these jobs come with vastly different levels of compensation. Inequity in this form, known as occupational segregation, is not unique to the municipal workforce; however, government can and should lead the way in eradicating inequity wherever it arises.
Our municipal workforce came together like never before this past year as our City faced the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing meals to students and their families, staffing our testing and vaccination sites, and facing the virus head on when providing emergency services. The work these individuals do keeps the Greatest City in the World running, and it is only right that they be compensated equitably and fairly. However, we can only address these disparities if we know they exist. Identifying the ways in which inequity persists in our City’s pay structure, as set forth in this report and analysis, is therefore a necessary step toward ensuring that all our City’s employees are valued for their extraordinary contributions.