Changing Demographics in Manhattan’s Office Workforce

July 3, 2014
By Stephanie West

New York, NY — New York City’s changing population and economy have altered who works in Manhattan’s office buildings, according to a new analysis of workplace demographics, salaries and occupations released by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

“While Manhattan’s office employees are working more and earning more overall, there are significant demographic disparities in these numbers that we must address,” Comptroller Stringer said. “Three quarters of all Manhattan office workers now have at least a bachelor’s degree, which puts those who do not attain higher education at a disadvantage. Gains that women have made in higher paying industries have not offset the loss of back-office jobs traditionally held by women that have been slowly eliminated by technological changes.  Our City can and must do more to expand economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

Comptroller Stringer’s report, “Who Works in Manhattan’s Office Buildings?”, found that:

The salary gap between Manhattan office workers and non-office employees grew substantially from 1990-2012. In 1990, Manhattan office workers had average incomes of about $41,200, compared to the average income of $23,600 for Manhattan workers who did not work in offices. By 2012, that 75 percent earnings differential had widened to 110 percent, as the average office worker salary rose to $100,900. 
In 2012, female office workers still earned, on average, only 60 percent of what their male counterparts earned. That gap included the number of hours worked—with women on average logging about 10 percent fewer hours than men. 

In 2012, more than three quarters of all Manhattan office workers had college degrees, continuing a trend of “education inflation” in which an increasing number of office workers have higher education degrees. However, only 27 percent of the City’s young African-Americans and 20 percent of its young Hispanics (ages 25-40) had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 69 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
There has been a decline in the representation of African-Americans in Manhattan’s office workforce, from 15 percent of the office workforce in 1990 to 12 percent in 2012.

The percentage of Hispanics in the office workforce increased from 9.9 percent to 12.2 percent from 1990-2012, reflecting growth in that population across the City. However, Hispanic New Yorkers are the demographic least likely to work in Manhattan offices-in 2012 only 7.7 percent of Hispanic males (ages 25-40) had jobs in these offices.

While there was rapid growth in female representation in the legal profession during the study period of 1990-2012, overall, the number of women in the office workforce declined from 49.9 percent to 48.2 percent.
Workers in Manhattan are spending more time at the office. The average work week was 40.2 hours in 1990 as compared to 43.6 hours by 2012. 

“Identifying demographic trends in our local and national workforce is important to understanding changes in the City’s economy.  It’s clear that working in these offices are a road to the middle class. One pathway toward achieving that goal is by getting an education that emphasizes mastering the skills needed for the 21st century workforce,” Stringer said.

July 2, 2014

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