skip to content
Primary navigation

Outcomes by Race

View: Home | Data Tool | About | Outcomes by Race | Glossary | Methodology | LMI Help

Racial Disparities in Employment Outcomes After College

The dashboard below presents four main indicators of racial disparities in labor market outcomes after completing a post-secondary credential in Minnesota:

  1. Employment status gap: White and Asian graduates were more likely to be employed full-time and consistently for the whole year while other racial minorities were more likely to be employed either part-time or temporarily/seasonally during the year. This difference holds at every education and age level. Although part-time/seasonal work is sometimes a voluntary choice, it is often of lower quality and does not provide the opportunity to negotiate for higher wages. Full-time, year-round employment is of higher quality not only because it more often comes with health care and retirement benefits, but also because it offers more opportunities for career advancement. Use Employment Status graphic to explore this gap.
  2. Wage gap: Among those employed full-time for the whole year, whites earned more while American Indian graduates earned less than other race groups. Interestingly, the wage gap is reduced among younger completers (age 20-30) who earned a Bachelor’s degree and higher, indicating that educational attainment has the effect of leveling the playfield as long as individuals manage to complete college before age 30, land a full-time job, and hold it consistently. Use Employment Status graphic to explore this gap.
  3. Educational attainment gap: Black and American Indian graduates are overwhelming more likely than any other race groups to complete a credential below Bachelor’s. We see this illustrated in the data that looks at what racial groups have a majority (more than 50%) of graduates with less than a Bachelor’s degree. Use Educational Attainment by Race graphic to explore this gap.
  4. Career advancement opportunity gap: At a similar level of educational attainment and age, graduates from racial minorities are more likely to work in low-wage industries compared to whites. The relatively higher concentration of racial minorities, particularly blacks, in Temp Help and Social Assistance even when they complete Bachelor’s and above credentials drives racial wage gaps because of fewer opportunities for skills development and career advancement in these industries. When racial minorities were able to find jobs in high-wage/high skill industries such as Hospitals, Professional and Technical Services, Construction, or Manufacturing, wage disparities shrank substantially. This suggests that initiatives aimed at helping racial minorities break into these industries are key to reducing disparities. Use Top 10 Industries of Employment graphic to explore this gap.

Use the check boxes on the dashboard to filter by education level and age group in order to isolate the effect of race from the effect of educational attainment and work experience/age.

To explore this topic in more detail see the article by A. Leibert in Economic Trends magazine, December 2015, or her article in Minnesota Employment Review, July 2016


Race/ethnicity is a self-reported category that includes the following options: Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska native; Asian; Hispanic/Latino; White; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; Two or more races; Nonresident Alien. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander were excluded from the dashboard display due to the very small size of this group. Nonresident aliens were excluded because the category is not descriptive of a racial or ethnic status. Moreover, a high percentage from this group leave the state after graduation skewing employment status results. Asians include a broad spectrum of ethnic groups but the categories that students can select from do not provide any more detailed breakdown.

Part-time/seasonal employment represents individuals who were either employed for part of the year (less than four quarters) or worked a total of less than 1,820 hours during the year in their primary job.

Full-time year-round employment represents individuals who were employed all four quarters of the year for a total of at least 1,820 hours in their primary job. It does not include individuals who hold multiple jobs totaling 1,820 hours over four quarters.

Unknown employment status represents the share of graduates who did not have any record of employment in Minnesota during the 2nd year after graduation. Individuals who are self-employed, employed out of state, unemployed and actively seeking work, or voluntarily not seeking work are not represented in Minnesota wage records.

Top 10 Industries of Employment 24 Months After Graduation represent the top 10 industries in which program graduates from the selected graduation years have found employment. Industries were classified according to the North American Industry Classification (NAICS) system. Industry is not equivalent to occupation. For example, the manufacturing industry employs persons in the occupations of machinist, manager, and administrative support. However, industry is the best available indicator of alignment between program of study and job after graduation.

Data Sources

Author’s calculations from SLEDS (Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System). Graduates who earned more than one degree were classified according to the highest degree obtained. Wage data have been adjusted for inflation based on the federal Consumer Price Index, with the purpose of allowing comparisons over time.

back to top