Can’t Catch a Break: Intersectional Inequalities at Work

Can’t Catch a Break: Intersectional Inequalities at Work

Read the Full Article The labor market is the site of longstanding and persistent inequalities across race and gender groups in hiring, compensation, and advancement. In this paper, we draw on data from 13,574 hourly service-sector workers to extend the study of intersectional labor market inequalities to workers’ experience on the job. In the service sector, where workers are regularly expected to be on their feet for long hours and contend with intense and unrelenting workloads, regular break time is an essential component of job quality and general well-being. Yet, we find that Black women are less likely than their...

Mitigating the Impacts of Sexual Harassment: Evidence from a National Survey of Retail and Restaurant Workers

Workplace sexual harassment and violence inflict a variety of costs on survivors, raising important questions about prevention: changing the conditions that give rise to the problem in the first place. So long as sexual harassment and violence persist, mitigating their impacts and creating clear channels for recourse will also remain crucial, shaping the wellbeing and agency of survivors in navigating a way forward.

Dreams Deferred: Downward Mobility and Making Ends Meet in the Service Sector

Nearly one-in-five jobs in the United State are in the service sector, including in retail, grocery, pharmacy, fast food, and fulfillment, but there are countervailing views on who works these jobs and to what end. One view in the public imaginary is that service-sector employment is dominated by workers who are temporarily in this line of work and using it as a source of extra income or as a first rung on a ladder towards career growth and economic opportunity (Selyukh, 2021). But, an alternative view is that many workers rely on service sector work to get by—and to support...

Why Are Young Workers Leaving Their Jobs?

The American labor market has experienced dramatic changes since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in the early spring of 2020, with historic job losses followed by a sharp employment recovery. Since 2021, the pandemic labor market has entered a third phase, with a dramatic reshuffling of workers in the labor market. Commonly referred to as the “Great Resignation,” workers have left their jobs at extraordinary rates, particularly younger workers. While some argue that young workers left their jobs to rely on the federal stimulus money or other forms of public assistance, others believe that young workers left their...

Mandates Narrow Gender Gaps In Paid Sick Leave Coverage For Low-Wage Workers In The US

Paid sick leave helps workers recover from illness and manage care obligations and protects public health. Yet access to paid sick leave remains limited and unequal in the United States. Drawing on surveys of 61,223 service-sector workers collected during the period 2017–21 by the Shift Project, we documented limited access to paid sick leave and stark gender inequality, with women less likely than men to have paid sick leave. Part-time employment and gender segregation by industry subsector each explain part, but not all, of the gender disparity. However, in states and localities that mandate paid sick leave for workers, workers...

The Gender Wage Gap, Between-Firm Inequality, and Devaluation: Testing a New Hypothesis in the Service Sector

Unequal sorting of men and women into higher and lower-wage firms contributes significantly to the gender wage gap according to recent analysis of national labor markets. We confirm the importance of this between-firm gender segregation in wages and examine a second outcome of hours using unique employer–employee data from the service sector. We then examine what explains the relationship between firm gender composition and wages. In contrast to prevailing economic explanations that trace between-firm differences in wages to differences in firm surplus, we find evidence consistent with devaluation and potentially a gender-specific use of “low road” employment strategies.

Inequalities At Work And The Toll Of COVID-19

Workplaces shape risk for exposure to COVID-19 through on-site safety practices, including the provision and required use of personal protective equipment, as well as protective policies such as paid sick leave and the flexibility to work from home.

What Explains Racial/Ethnic Inequality in Job Quality in the Service Sector?

Precarious work in the United States is defined by economic and temporal dimensions. A large literature documents the extent of low wages and limited fringe benefits, but research has only recently examined the prevalence and consequences of unstable and unpredictable work schedules. Yet practices such as on-call shifts, last minute cancellations, and insufficient work hours are common in the retail and food-service sectors.
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American Retail Workers Face a New Racial Gap

In a recently published study in the American Sociological Review, The Shift Project finds that White workers in U.S. retail and food-service industries are less likely to have "on-call" shifts. The study also finds that having a manager of a different race factors in whether time off is granted and canceled shifts are avoided, older workers are less likely to be exposed to precarious schedules, and workers with more seniority receive more shifts.
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