Tipped Over the Edge: Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry (Executive Summary)
The restaurant industry employs over 10 million workers1 in one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the United States economy. The majority of workers in this huge and growing sector are women. Despite the sector’s growth and potential to offer opportunities to advance women’s economic security, restaurant workers’ wages have not kept pace with the industry’s economic growth. The restaurant industry offers some of the nation’s lowest-wage jobs, with little access to benefits and career advancement. In 2010, seven of the ten lowest-paid occupations were all restaurant occupations.The restaurant industry has one of the highest concentrations of workers (39 percent) earning at or below the minimum wage. Moreover, low wages tell only part of the story; workers also lack access to benefits and career mobility. These challenges create a disproportional burden for women.