Seattle City Councilmember Morales’ statement on workforce equity audit results

Councilmember Morales statement on Workforce Equity Audit results

Councilmember Tammy J. Morales (District 2, Chinatown / International District and South Seattle) released a statement this morning following a report from the Seattle Auditor’s Office on Workforce Equity in Promotions at the City of Seattle. 

The report concluded that Women of Color are the most underrepresented at the top levels of pay and supervisory authority, among other disproportionalities.  

“The results of this audit reflect much of what we see across public, private, and non-profit sectors: that the labor of women of color is undermined and undervalued,” said Councilmember Morales.  

“There’s a lot of work to be done to change the culture in the City so that we can build a more sustainable and healthy work environment for all. One avenue will be to ensure resources and support are directed toward the Race and Social Justice ordinance that was codified by my office earlier this year. I appreciate the City Auditor’s Office for producing this report, and our continued partnership to gather data that will allow us to make decisions in line with best practices for all,” she continued. 

The City Auditor will be presenting its findings to the Neighborhoods, Education, Arts, and Civil Rights Committee tomorrow Friday, September 22nd at 9:30 AM. Attend in person or watch live via Seattle Channel.  


The audit was commissioned by Councilmember Morales, after news in 2021 that seven Black women from the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department sued the City alleging discrimination in their careers. 

The purpose of this audit was to examine workforce equity by establishing City of Seattle employee promotion baseline data and determining if the City is following best practices on promotions and retention, especially for women of color. 

This will be the first step in a series of reports Councilmember Morales’ office is requesting to fully examine the employment cycle of our city employees. 

Key Facts 

According to the City’s most recent workforce equity report from 2021: 

  • Women of Color are the most underrepresented at the top levels of pay and supervisory authority  
  • Latinx employees remain the most underrepresented group across the entire City workforce 
  • Women received lower promotion pay increases compared to men 
  • Employees in the lowest pay band received the lowest promotion pay increase  
  • The City has limited gender categories (male, female, unspecified), which can prevent the City from identifying and addressing potential disparities faced by transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer employees 
  • The City’s Class Specification system is outdated; multiple City HR managers noted that the system has not been updated since it was developed in 1991/93. 
  • The City’s federated HR system dilutes accountability for workforce equity. Also, promotion analysis has not been included in the annual workforce equity reports.  
Chart titled: Average percentage promotion pay increase in 2021 by race/ethnicity and gender. 
- White men: 10.66%
- Men of Color: 10.44%
- White Women: 10.17%
- Unspecified Men: 9.53%
- Women of Color: 9.33%
- Unspecified Women: 5.45%

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