Report Finds Women Occupy Fewer Than 1 in 5 City Manager Positions in California

GrassrootsLab released a report today that offers a snapshot of the city managers in California, and continues a long standing dialogue on the gender gap that is increasingly evident in California’s city governments. According to the report released today, only 19% of California’s 482 cities are led by female city managers. The gap is more pronounced when examining the make-up of California’s 50 largest cities by population, where only 6 are led by women and the remaining 88% are led by men.

This statewide statistic is nearly 7% above the national average, which estimates that 12.6% of city managers are women. However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that this is still significantly below the number of women who serve as chief executives across all other industries.

Notably, the report demonstrates that this deficiency cannot be attributed purely to a lack of a viable pool or a significant gender bias in the employer pool, or the elected city council. Women represent nearly 40% of support staff in city management offices nationwide, yet only a small fraction of these women work up to the chief management position. Furthermore, of the 65 cities with female majority councils in California, only 12 (19%) have female city managers. While the report asserts that there is no way to know whether these current councils selected the sitting city manager, it is significant to note that there is a 10-point gap between the percentage of female city managers and the number of women elected to city offices statewide.

The report goes on to explore the differences of salary and benefits that are offered to female and male city managers. On average, the report estimates that city managers in California earn approximately $181,000 annually. Women in this position earn roughly $0.90 for every male salaried dollar and earn roughly 15% less in benefits and expenses. Over an average 3-year tenure with one city, this figure adds up to nearly $77,000 less in overall salary and benefits than their male counterparts.

For more information, check out GrassrootsLab’s full report Here.