Social Inequality In The Work Place Essay Samples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Workplace, Family, Social Issues, Women, Human Resource Management, America, Gender, Inequality

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/17

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The world is experiencing a shift in its political, social and economic realms, and it is also changing the way organizations work and the workplace. Technology, improved skills, and competencies, globalization are working towards democracy at the workplace. However, workers still don’t enjoy the freedoms they should and often have to face inequality in the workplace. The inconsistent nature of the workplace suggests that there is a need to improve social responsibility and promote equality in the workplace. The justice claims that equals should be treated equally and entitling workers to a democratic voice is a matter of right. There are major concerns regarding pay increase as well as promotional opportunity amongst workers (Hatcher).
Researchers have found that along with gender, the race, class and gender are the major bases of social inequality in the workplace. The middle-class women support worker participation, and work-based decision-making strongly.

Changing families and workplace

Both families and workplaces have changed dramatically over the past decades. The increasing number of women at the workplace have led to family instability. Inequality in work hours and income has only risen with time. Mothers return to work much sooner, divorce rates are on the rise and so are children being raised by a single parent. Along with the families, the workplaces have changed too. The “24/7” economy has led to part-time work, working at nonstandard hours, and rotating schedules or working in shifts (Bianchi). The inequality in the workplace too have risen and so has the income distribution. Dual-earner couples work for longer hours for those higher incomes, and the upper middle-class couples have to choose between family and careers. Childlessness has risen among women. Both parents need to work in order to make ends meet.
Role of education and skills Along with the families, the workplaces have changed too. The “24/7” economy has led to part-time work, working at nonstandard hours, and rotating schedules or working in shifts. The inequality in the workplace too have risen and so has the income distribution. There is a growing inequality in the income of highly skilled and the less-skilled workers. The low-skilled workers face a major dilemma of working for too little pay and too few hours. The middle-income groups find little flexibility in the work for higher wages. There are dilemmas among the higher end of the skill distribution. The gap between highly skilled workers and the lower skilled workers has been widening. Income has soared for the skilled workers. The job market for lower-middle-class workers and the working-class are relatively stable (Bianchi).

Women at workplace

Many occupations are problematic for women workers, especially when they are not able to devote time for their family members and children. Observational studies suggest women often cut down on their working hours and make compromises with low paid jobs. Women with children face subtle discrimination in the labor market as they are assumed to be less committed workers as compared to men or women with no children. For those low-income women, who are also a single parent, they face a work-family dilemma of whether work longer hours to earn more and how to give time to their children (Bianchi).

The gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is also referred to as the “gender wage gap” or “male-female income disparity”. It refers to the difference in hourly earnings of male and female employees at a workplace. The gender pay gap is prevalent in almost all over the world and women often receive lower pay for the same quantity of work made by men, and are limited in their chances for promotion, particularly for the top positions (Blau and Lawrence).
The gender pay gap is seen as one of the main elements of gender inequality at the workplace. Females tend to accept differences in pay and benefits and pay expectations. Despite objective underpayment, the female employees are subjectively satisfied with their salary. Individuals who are under-rewarded often harbor negative emotions such as distress and lower job dissatisfaction. They also carry a higher intention to quit the job and exhibit a decreased organizational commitment. Thus, although female employees might show acceptance of the social inequality in the workplace, they are likely to feel less satisfied than their male counterparts (Khoreva).

Immigrants at work

With the immigration law reforms, one sees a change in the patterns of adaptation of new immigrants and how the employers may use racial and ethnic queues when hiring. The racial and ethnic map has changed over the years, and it has led to a rise in the diversity of the nonwhite population of the United States. Bemuse of intermarriages, the future ethnic categories are neither European nor African. The social significance of ethnic descent is seen to be much higher for European Americans and lesser for African Americans. American remain the most disadvantaged because of lower educational attainment and poverty. The new immigrant populations from Latin America and Asia create considerable confusion (Waters).
Many Americans feel that they are losing jobs to immigrant workers. The wage gap still exists between blacks and whites and it is true that many immigrant groups fare better than native populations.

Ethnic and minority groups

When family income and poverty rates are compared for the major minority groups and whites in the United States, there is a continuing inequality among groups when compared with whites. Only Asians get the same or higher median family income as compared to whites. The studies suggest that the poor African Americans still shoulder the burden of current economic changes and racial discrimination still exists at the work place. The American economy has hit Latinos particularly hard in the last few decades because of their low education and the labor market positions. The earnings among Latino men have dropped, and there is an erosion of the minimum wage. Undocumented and illegal workers reinforce the low-income profile further and make lower incomes as compared to the legal immigrants.
Research shows that Hispanics and African Americans are likely to remain unemployed for longer periods of time. There are persistent wage gaps between whites and African Americans as well as Hispanics, and particularly for women. Although higher education levels and equal employment opportunity laws have narrowed the gap, the relative earnings of African Americans have gone down. Sociological research suggests that education and skills do play a role in the placement and promotional opportunities, it still doesn’t explain historical disparities between racial minorities and the whites with respect to earnings, training, and promotions.
The employer expectations differ because of their tendencies to stereotype by race and the African-American men especially vulnerable to such biases. Race and ethnicity too can influence chances for promotion and minorities face limited opportunities and more indirect barriers to promotion (Race, Ethnicity, and the American Labor Market).


Employers need to broaden their horizon and offer greater flexibility at their workplace. As one sees, there are the different reason behind incomes, pay increase and promotional opportunity at the workplace. Some of the prime reasons are the gender and racial inequality. Women feel the professional exclusion but accept it meekly while men remain unaware of the problem. Promotional opportunities and mentorship are enjoyed only by the privileged few. It is seen that those who are part of a socially dominant group enjoy some level of privilege. The social inequalities at work are faced by people of color and even those who are immigrants or carry a lower educational level.

Works Cited

Bianchi, Suzanne M. "Changing Families, Changing Workplaces." The Future of Children 21.2 (2011): 15-36.
Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M. Kahn. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap In The 1990s: Slowing Convergence." Industrial & labor relations review 60 (2006): 45-562.
Hatcher, Tim. "Workplace Democracy: A Review of Literature and Implications for Human Resource Developme.": Workplace Democracy 1.1 (2015): 1-8. Print.
Khoreva, Violetta. " Gender Inequality, Gender Pay Gap, and Pay Inequity." Perceptions and Reactions in Finnish Society and Workplaces: An International Journal 30.3 (2012): 1-134.
"Race, Ethnicity, and the American Labor Market: What’s at Work?" Sydney S. Spivack Program In Applied Social Research And Social Policy, 2005. Web. <>.
Waters, Mary C. "Immigration and Ethnic and Racial Inequality in the United States." Annual review of sociology 21.1 (1995): 419-46.

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