Civil Rights Department Releases Statewide Demographic Breakdown of Employee Pay Data for 2021

August 31, 2023

For Immediate Release

Second annual release of pay data findings suggest persistent overrepresentation of women and communities of color among state’s lowest paid workers.

New data findings are available for download and as infographics at

SACRAMENTO – The California Civil Rights Department (CRD) today released new employment pay data findings for 2021 covering approximately 7.3 million employees across California. Under California law, private employers of 100 or more employees are required to annually report pay, demographic, and other workforce data to the state. Despite significant progress in California to strengthen equal pay laws, this second annual release of pay data findings suggests persistent overrepresentation of women and communities of color among the state’s lowest paid workers.

“It’s unfortunately no surprise that the latest pay data reinforces what we already know: women and communities of color continue to bear the burden of low-wage jobs — particularly those oriented around care work,” said California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “California’s strong pay equity and transparency laws have put us on the right path, but we still have work to do to realize our shared values of equal pay and opportunity for ALL Californians. Partnership is key and I encourage employers to join our ongoing work toward pay equity by signing the California Equal Pay Pledge and commit to centering the needs of women and communities of color in the workplace.”

“California is committed to fighting for a more equitable future for all,” said Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez. “The latest employee pay data shows we still have work to do and, more importantly, shows exactly where employers need to make changes to improve the pay of women and communities of color.”

“The data make it clear that pay disparities remain a persistent challenge,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish. “Each year, billions of dollars are lost due to pay inequities impacting women and communities of color. I urge employers to take a hard look at the data and do their part to ensure equal opportunity in the workplace. At the Civil Rights Department, we’ll continue to increase transparency around wage discrepancies in California and take action to enforce our state’s protections against discrimination.”

As a result of the passage of Senate Bill 973 in 2020, California collects pay data to encourage employers to conduct self-assessments of pay disparities, promote voluntary compliance with equal pay and anti-discrimination laws, and support efforts by the state to efficiently identify wage patterns and allow for effective enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. In passing the law, the Legislature recognized that the pay gap has remained a persistent challenge, resulting in billions of dollars in lost wages.

Consistent with pay data findings from 2020, women continue to make up the majority of low-wage workers and administrative support, sales, and service workers, while men remain concentrated among high-wage workers and executives, managers, and craft workers. Similarly, the findings show that Latinos, Black people, and Native Americans also remained concentrated among low-wage workers. Key findings from the 2021 data collected from approximately 149,600 California establishments include:

  • While there were fewer women (48%) in the workforce data, they made up a larger share of workers (54%) in the lowest pay range earning $32,239 or less.
  • Meanwhile, men made up the majority of workers (65%) in the highest pay range earning $144,560 or more.
  • Across occupations, women also made up the majority of workers in administrative (71%), service (56%), and sales (55%) positions.
  • In comparison, men were more represented among craft workers (92%), operatives (75%), and senior executives (64%).
  • Roughly half of Latino (49%), Black (48%), and Native American (47%) workers were in the lowest pay range earning $32,239 or less.
  • In contrast, less than one-third of white workers (29%) and one-quarter of Asian workers (22%) were in the lowest pay range.
  • Fewer than 1 in 20 Latino workers, and 1 in 10 Black and Native American workers were in the top-earning positions, whereas nearly 1 in 4 white workers and 1 in 3 Asian workers were employed in the highest pay range.
  • White workers comprised a larger share of senior executives (61%) and managers (50%), while Latinos made up the largest share of laborers (69%) and operatives (58%).

The 2021 data collection does not include individuals who are self-employed, public employers, independent contractors, and employers with fewer than 100 employees. As a result, the data findings do not represent the state’s entire employed workforce, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated to be approximately 18.1 million at the end of 2021. In 2022, the Legislature expanded pay data requirements under Senate Bill 1162 to include labor contractors.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of employment discrimination, CRD may be able to assist you through its complaint process. General information about CRD’s complaint process and how to file a complaint is available here. General information regarding California’s protections against discrimination in employment is available here.

Pay data results for 2021, as well as 2020, are available for download and as infographics on CRD’s website here.


CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit

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