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Latinos See Local Gains in City Employment, But Most Hires Still Men

Published on Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 2:25 pm

Latino hires by Pasadena city officials continue to increase, but last year the city hired almost twice as many men than women.

In 2020, the city hired 62 men and just 34 women.

Those numbers were down from 2019 when 56 women were hired as were 73 men, according to the city’s Equal Opportunity in Employment Annual Report for 2019 and 2020.

The report does not list applicant information which could reveal the diversity of the job pool. According to City Manager Steve Mermell, COVID-19 impacted the hiring process.

2020 saw reduced hiring due to the pandemic. As a result, there were fewer new hires and fewer promotions in 2020 compared with 2019. In fact, there were 47% fewer promotions in 2020 than in 2019, according to Mermell.

Of the 117 employees promoted in 2020, 25, or 21.3%, were women and 92 were men, 78.6%.

In 2019, of the 172 employees promoted in the city only 49, or 28.5%, were women, That same year 123 men were promoted, 71.5%
Of the city’s 1,783 full time employees, 613 employees or 34% are women.

Many of the promotions in 2020 were in fields filled historically by males such as Police, Fire, maintenance/service and skilled crafts positions in the Public Works and Water & Power Departments.

“To help put the City’s gender balance in context, it is important to note that Protective Services classifications-meaning sworn Police and Fire-as well as skilled crafts and service/maintenance classifications within the Public Works and Water and Power Departments are predominantly held by men, the report said.

“This is not unique to Pasadena, but also true for the gender composition of these fields in other cities and agencies. Employees in these classifications comprise 41 % of the City’s workforce therefore contributing to the higher number of males than females in Pasadena’s overall workforce. Nevertheless, the City continues to focus efforts on hiring women into these nontraditional fields.”

According to information provided to the council, women make up about half of the city’s workforce that requires specialized and theoretical knowledge, which is usually acquired through college training or through work experience and other training that provides comparable knowledge.

But all of the jobs that require special manual skill and a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the processes involved in the work which is acquired through on-the-job training and experience, or through apprenticeship or other formal training programs are currently held by men.

Also only 10% of the city’s public safety agencies are staffed by women.

The City offers a comprehensive, free training program to all employees. Training sessions focus on honing and maintaining competencies such as communication, policy application, analysis, writing and presentation skills, an overview of the budget and purchasing processes, customer service and leadership and supervision. The City also offers online, on demand skills training through LinkedIn Learning as well as an All-Star Analyst program that provides employees interested in becoming analysts the essential tools and knowledge to help them reach that goal.

The report also showed positive gains among Latinos and Hispanics in the city’s workforce over the past four years.

In 2017, Latino employees made up 37.1% of the city’s employees. The number ticked up 37.3% in 2018 and increased 38.7% in 2019 before increasing another percentage point in 2020 to 39.7%.

At the same time that Latino employment was increasing full-time employment in the city among African Americans was heading in the opposite direction.

African-American employment in the city dropped from 16.9% to 15.8% between 2017 and 2020.

The report was received and filed by the City Council on Monday.

Employees identifying as Latino or Hispanic make up the biggest demographic of city employees at 39.7% followed by white employees at 29.3%. African Americans make up 15.8% and Asians trail closely at 13.9%.

“Citywide efforts are made to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, provide vocational training, and hire locally,” according to a city staff report signed by city manager Steve Mermell and Jennifer Curtis, who leads the city’s Human Resources Department.

“Human Resources supports the Human Services and Recreation Department which manages the Ambassadors and Summer Rose programs which introduce local youth to government service. Human Resources partners with the Housing Department to encourage local hiring for the MASH program: a one-to-two year vocational training program that provides workers with vital job experience and regular feedback as well as the opportunity to apply for promotional-only openings in the City of Pasadena.”

Over the past two years, the majority of new hires in the city were Latino. In 2020, 44 of the city’s 117 new hires were Latino, 29 white, 10 Black and seven were Asian.

In 2019, 57 Latino employees were hired by the city followed by 37 new white employees. Twenty Asian employees were hired, thirteen African Americans, one employee declined to state race and another was listed as two or more races.

Non-white minorities comprise approximately 70% of the City’s workforce compared but make up 63% in our community.

As of Dec. 31, African Americans were employed at a rate approximately 45% higher than the available labor pool and Hispanic or Latino individuals were employed by the city at a rate approximately 11.2% higher than the available labor pool. Asian individuals were employed approximately 7% less than the available labor market.

“Late last year, the City began an effort focused on addressing race inequities and advancing diversity and inclusiveness. An employee Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEi) committee was established and is working in collaboration with a consultant and City Manager to shape the City’s approach to DEI.”

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