Equal Employment Opportunity:

Women and Minority Aerospace Managers and Professionals, 1979-86

HRD-90-16: Published: Oct 26, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 2, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined national data on equal employment opportunity among government contractors in the aerospace industry between 1979 and 1986, focusing on whether: (1) the representation of minorities and women in the industry changed over time; (2) the aerospace representation reflected their representation in the labor force; and (3) minorities and women in aerospace received pay similar to white males for similar work.

GAO found that: (1) as a whole, the numbers of minorities and women increased slightly over the period, but Asian representation doubled, while the other minority groups progressed only slightly; (2) of total aerospace employees nationwide, 83 percent were white, 8 percent were black, 5 percent were Hispanic, 3 percent were Asian, and fewer than 1 percent were Native American; (3) blacks comprised 3.2 percent of the aerospace managers, which was less than the national work force representation, Asians had more representation in aerospace, and Hispanic representation was the same in both; (4) black, Hispanic, and Asian representation among professionals in aerospace compared to their national counterparts, but black representation remained lower than the national work force; and (5) of minority managers and professionals, Asians received a higher average percentage of salaries for whites than did Hispanics and blacks. GAO also found that: (1) the number of women in aerospace increased from 21 to 25 percent, although women represented 45 percent of the workers nationally; (2) while female representation in aerospace managerial and professional jobs almost doubled, it was only half the national average; (3) women held about 75 percent of the aerospace office or clerical jobs; (4) although all women managers and professionals earned less on average than white men, the disparity from white men was less at the entry and middle levels than in the managerial category overall; (5) Los Angeles had higher percentages of minorities and professionals than the aerospace industry nationwide, but except for Asians, Seattle had lower proportions; (6) women comprised a higher percentage of managers and professionals in Los Angeles, but less than national averages; and (7) Seattle minority women had low representation compared to the national work force.

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