It just doesn’t add up.

Where does Bermuda Network News(BNN)  get their numbers from?  In a recent article it suggests:

According to the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, black Bermudians hold more BA degrees than their white counterparts.

Nine hundred and forty four (944) BA degrees where held by black Bermudian female, 718 by black Bermudian males, 586 by white Bermudian males and 447 by white Bermudian females in 2000.

On what page in the 2000 Census of Population and Housing does this information exist?  The only information available for Bermudians by race and education level suggests University level education (a degree), not a ‘BA’.  Some of us busted our butts for Bachelor’s of Engineering Science, not Bachelor’s of Arts, a little recognition would be appreciated.

Anyway, the numbers suggested for a ‘university’ education place black Bermudians at 1752 for black males and 1541 for white males.  As for females, they’re pegged at 2697 for black and 1570 for white.  All this can be found on page 130 of the 2000 Census of Population and Housing.  Where the above numbers from BNN came from is unknown.

Then they quote a mysterious government press release (we know how we feel about those) that apparently was only released to BNN as it hasn’t been published on the government website.  The report is suggested to have stated:

“It has long been an erroneous perception that blacks in Bermuda did not possess the same educational qualifications as whites. That perception was used to explain the apparent lack of progress of blacks into senior and executive managerial positions in the workplace.”

Again, a BA is not the same as a BESc.  Let’s be certain what we’re talking about here.

Statistics for Masters Degree follow a similar pattern, with 479 held by black women, 201 by black men, 108 by white women and 105 by white men.

Right, but this is only masters degrees and your comparing numbers provided today with ones from the 2000 census.  How about a little consistency?   While you’re at it, how about breakdowns of doctorates, bachelors and even types of bachelors.  It then goes to use this as a basis of comparing median incomes which is completely uncorrelated.

There is, however, a significant difference between the races regarding  education and income.

The press release said: “What is evident from the chart is that at either level of education, the white and other race employees recorded the higher level of median monthly income than black employees with the same level of education.  At the college degree level, white and other employees took home a median monthly wage of $4,111 while black employees reported a take-home wage of $2,964.

First, how do we jump from quoting a statistic for Master’s Degrees to one for college degree’s?  Are we comparing college (Associate’s) degree’s to university (bachelors) or college to college?  Is this comparing black vs. white Bermudians or blacks vs. whites overall.   This mistake has been made in the past so it’d be helpful to know we’re comparing apples to apples here.

“Ironically, the chart also demonstrates that white employees with no formal certificates were earning a higher median income than black college degree holders at $3,147.  Black employees with no formal certificate made a median monthly income of $2,333.”

Could this press release be forwarded to the general public please, perhaps with supporting statistics?  It’d be great to know where these median incomes by degree level are calculated.  Again, black vs. white alone isn’t helpful, we need to know if this is Bermudian only or encompassing all workers with the reasoning being that if the median incomes for Bermudians overall at the degree level (specific type of degree that is) are lower than non-Bermudians regardless of whether race is considered could point to a much larger problem beyond simply race.

Finally, the article uses these discrepancies as justifications for the Racial Equity Law.

The proposed Workforce Equity Legislation would make employers accountable for establishing work equity plans in an effort to address systemic discrimination.

However, nowhere in the draft Workforce Equity Act are income disparities mentioned nor accounted for.  It only states that employers must create plans to rectify under-representation of Black Bermudians, not under-compensation, so how can the draft act be used as justification against unfair income levels?

It just doesn’t add up.



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5 thoughts on “It just doesn’t add up.

  1. I agree with your comments. I also have the following concerns, 1) CURE statistics widely used do not differentiate between Bermudians & Non-Bermudians (as you pointed out) but these latest figures do, 2) Doesn’t seem to factor in industry-specific qualifications vs. generic degrees, 3) There is no mention of tenure, and 4)The data used is 7 years old!!!

  2. So pleased to see someone looking into this – if people had confidence about how vigorously the data had been evaluated, we could buy-in to the appropriate policy and programming. As it stands, the issue seems to have started with anecdote or “perception = reality” and now the data is being mined to back-up the Minister. You can’t develop policy intended to solve a problem if you don’t understand the problem! A bit like affordable housing – if we had a sound education system and understood what it took to advance black and white Bermudians into solid careers, there would be a much smaller need for subsidized housing – granted we also need a sustainable development policy to influence demand for housing in the first place.
    Another 2 points to consider when looking at the statistics – 1. older and agruably more experienced executive will be paid more than younger execs – given our history, there may be more older execs who are white than black. 2. not all University degrees pay the same – teachers and social workers are probably at the bottom of the scale, business grads, lawyers etc will be at the top of the scale. If more black degree holders enter teaching and more white degree holders enter business, it will change the $$.

  3. sleazy PLP campaign tactics !
    election race pimping!
    why waste the words trying to make sense out of “blind em with bullshit” propaganda ,besides most Bermudian “blacks” are mixed race anyway,its a smokescreen distraction,from their corruption and thievery

  4. Denis,
    You’ve succeeded where so many PLP-hardcore have failed–getting me to post less or not at all. What’s the point when you keep hitting it on the head?
    There are some additional areas which are also relevant and not addressed in these statistics. 1) Which school the degree is from and 2) the suitability of that degree to the industry the person is working in.
    Regarding 1) CURE can’t compare a Harvard graduate to a no-name school or, to be honest, to most name-brand schools either. Both may have a bachelors of arts in history but the differences between the people can be mammoth. The US has many “fine” institutions which are more than happy to sell you a degree that is worthless. Even the good schools have a rank. (click my name for the link) Too many bermudians across the board arent’ setting their sights high enough on which school they choose.
    On the second point, CURE can’t ignore that an irrelevant degree will have almost no value if the employer has no use for that knowledge. If you were an art history major or french classics its going to be difficult to convince your boss you deserve extra money for that in your role as an actuary or construction foreman.
    In both points I’ve made somewhat extreme examples to illustrate the effect, but they are just as true with more common situations.
    CURE really does itself and its cause a disservice by publishing such superficial statistics. There are only 60,000 people here. They could do a census every five years and mine that data like the comstock lode if they wanted to, and at a reasonable cost. If it was respectable and thoroughly analyzed data which was used when making these points CURE would get a lot more support across the board. This type of reporting is what makes people like me become cynical in the first place and just makes them look like partisan hacks.

  5. I like the point Denis and agree with Silence.
    On an anecdotal note, I am a young Bermudian working at a large re-insurance company. We want to hire Bermudians to train as underwriters. The only criteria we have are; a degree (it could be in French Classics, or History (which mine is)), personal skills and the ability to do well on a basic 25 minute maths test (and the implied obligation to work your ass off 50 hours a week for the next few years, and study for exams in your free time).
    The test isn’t difficult, you wouldn’t need a calculator and all applicants who make it past the interview stage are told weeks in advance that they will have to write the test.
    Of the handful of Bermudian applicants this year, none of them could break through the 40 percent aisle of all past writers of the same exam.
    It’s not an arduous requisite to require of applicants to a numerical based job, but it is going to throw off CURE statistics. It’s not politically correct to criticise the degree or school of a young student – because any degree from any institution requires a lot of work and sacrifice – but not all degrees are created equal. CURE needs to realize that while applicants may have degrees and are qualified on paper, they are being entrusted in Reinsurance with millions of dollars or shareholder money and only senior management in close contact with the employee and a long experience in the industry can decide how much any given employee is worth and what role they are qualified to fulfil.

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