Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

The Racial Inequality of Social Capital in Your Job Search

We have talked so much about networking that my keyboard starts to auto-correct everything to the job seeker buzz word, and just so you know it’s unlikely to stop soon. So by this point, we all know how important networking is to job seekers. It therefore stands to reason that the greater your social capital the better your chance of finding a job. However, a new study shows that the increasing emphasis placed on networking may be hindering the job searches of young African Americans who might lack the same established social capital. So we ask, is your race impacting your ability to network?

Obviously not everything can be boiled down to race. Socio-economic status, regardless of race, plays an impact on a job seeker’s networking options as well. But the study shows, that while progress has been made in the ‘well-being’ gap between blacks and whites in America, the gap between income, employment, and education have remain relatively stagnant.

To hit home that networking is crucial for job seekers point, the study’s author, Nancy DiTomaso cited, ““Ninety-nine percent of my interviewees received 70% of the jobs they held over their lifetimes with the extra help of friends or family members.” That’s a staggering amount, and very significant if you have a smaller network, or if your network has less social capital. Thus, it is suggested that race plays a less overt, but still very crucial role for job seekers, and that racial barriers, when it comes to getting a job, still very much persist in modern America.

While the study makes intriguing points about the impact of racial social capital on job seekers, the point it makes overall about the importance of networking and social capital on the whole is equally fascinating. As the job market grows, and new industries emerge providing more opportunities, networking doesn’t decrease in importance. Instead, it is seemingly increasing. We’ve told you networking is important, but who the people in your network are connected with is just as significant.

Do you think there is racial inequality of social capital in job searching? Tell us below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Tony Fischer Photogrpahy

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.