How Does the City of Cincinnati's Workforce Match Up to the City's Demographic Makeup?

While Cincinnati is almost 52 percent female, only about 31 percent of the city's workforce is, according to a new report by the city's human resources department.

click to enlarge Cincinnati City Hall - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Cincinnati City Hall

A new report shows the demographic makeup of the City of Cincinnati's 5,720 employees — and where that makeup doesn't match that of the city's overall population. 

Every year since 1998, the city's human resources department compiles a report showing employee demographics and work-related complaints. The report covering last year, the 2018 Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, was released June 3. 

That report shows gaps remain when it comes to the percentage of women and people of color working city jobs compared to the city's demographic makeup. The reasons for those gaps are not discussed in the study.

For example, while Cincinnati is roughly 52 percent female, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey five-year estimates, about 31 percent of the city's municipal workforce is made up of women. The city itself is about 42 percent black, but the city's workforce is 32 percent black. And while roughly 3.6 percent of the city's population identifies as having Hispanic origins, only about .6 percent of the city's workers identify that way.

The demographics are somewhat different for the city's part-time employees. Fifty-five percent of part-timers with the city are black, the report shows.

The report also shows that disciplinary action brought against employees was disproportionate to the makeup of the workforce. Of the 278 disciplinary actions taken by the city in 2018, 64 percent went to black employees. Most of the employees disciplined — 77 percent — were men. 

Twenty employees filed 22 state and federal equal opportunity complaints against the city last year. Fourteen of those complaints — equally split between black and white and male and female employees — were filed directly with the federal government. Another eight complaints — all from black and all but two from female employees — were filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Details about the nature of those complaints are not included in the report. 

The report shows that promotions also don't line up with the makeup of the city's workforce, at least when it comes to men and women. Only about a quarter of the 410 promotions given by the city last year went to women. About 39 percent went to black employees, however — higher than their representation in the city's workforce.

The study, which is required by an ordinance passed by Cincinnati City Council, contains more detailed information about the demographic makeup of various city departments, as well as applications received by the city and hiring data from 2018.

The city received more than 26,000 applications for employment last year. Forty-nine percent of those who applied were white and 41 percent were black. Other applicants identified as Hispanic, Asian, Native American or two or more races. Forty-five percent of those who applied were women, while 54 percent were men. 

The applicants who were hired, however, were reversed — 49 percent of all new hires by the city last year were black, while 41 percent were white. Forty-eight percent of those hired from that applicant pool were women, while 51 percent were men. But full-time hiring still doesn't line up with the city's demographic makeup. Of the 211 full-time positions the city hired for last year, only 32 percent went to black applicants. Roughly 40 percent went to female applicants.

The report also has some interesting information about the generational makeup of Cincinnati's municipal workforce. So-called Gen-Xers make up the largest portion of the city's workforce at 42 percent. Baby Boomers make up the next largest share of the workforce — 27 percent — followed by Millennials, who represent 26 percent of the city's workforce. So-called Gen-Z workers already make up about 3.8 percent of the city's employees — a large enough percentage to make the rest of us feel kind of old. 

"Our mission is twofold," Cincinnati Human Resources Director Joe Wilson writes in the report. "First, we want to ensure that the City of Cincinnati continues on the path of a more diverse and inclusive workforce. We can make strides through better recruiting efforts, and ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities as it relates to promotional and other job opportunities. Second, our mission is to also bring greater consistency in the things that we do as a City and as a Human Resources Department... We want to be sure that all of our employees know that they can bring workplace issues to our attention, free from retaliation, and they will be treated with the utmost seriousness and confidentiality as can be provided."

You can read the full report here. 

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