More than 1.9 million Black Americans work in retail, accounting for 11 percent of the industry’s total workforce. Despite being the second-largest source of employment for Black workers, new data from the NAACP and equality advocacy organization, Demos, finds that the industry is rife with racial inequality and poor earning potential.
According to the report, titled “The Retail Race Divide,” full-time Black and Latino salespersons earn 75 percent of the wages of their White counterparts. For Black and Latino cashiers, the figure is 90 percent. Further, Black and Latino workers are sometimes stuck in “occupational segregation;” not only are they overrepresented in low-wage industries such as retail, but they’re also overrepresented in the lowest paying positions within these industries. Consider: Black people make up 11 percent of the retail force, but 6 percent of those in managerial or leadership roles.