Bermuda’s Income Disparity

While recently flipping through the pages of the National Economic Report of Bermuda (2007), there were a few statistics that caught my eye. Among them were these figures, based on 2006 data:

  • Average Salary in Bermuda = $59,394 (N=30,210 employees)
  • Average Salary for Blacks = $49,245 (N=16,420)
  • Average Salary for Whites = $78,385 (N=10,071)
  • Average Salary for Other Races = $52,775 (N=3719)

Of course, whenever I come across statistics I am a bit skeptical and try to keep a bit of perspective, but you have to admit that this is a pretty disturbing disparity of income. But, looking at the figures, a few things do come to mind. One is whether, within that number for whites, white expatriate employees are included because it is not uncommon for them to yield high salaries in certain job categories, particularly, in the international business sector, where the overseas recruitment of qualified staff is often necessary. If fewer Bermudians, black or white, are occupying those jobs – often high-paying – and assuming (just assuming!) those who are recruited happen to be predominantly white, then this might partially explain the disparity. This would suggest we need to work on having a better educated and qualified Bermudian workforce.

However, it is also hard to ignore the racial implications of this - especially when, according to this data, blacks represent 54.4% of the working population and whites, 33.3%. It is all the more reason for Bermudians to stop bickering and to get busy working together to appropriately and effectively address race relations and the education system. 

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~ by Carol-Ann Simmons on December 1, 2008.

3 Responses to “Bermuda’s Income Disparity”

  1. Based on the 30k total employees, this includes expats. A more useful breakdown would be of Bermudian salaries. Bands by education level would also be very interesting.

  2. Understand that the ‘black’ figures includes ‘blacks’ from the West Indies and other parts of the world who’ve come to Bda to work in the Hospitality Industry. HI pays the lowest wages and shows up, consistently, as having the lowest average and median incomes. These incomes will ‘distort’ low. For whites in the International Business Sector, many earn mid to high six figure salaries; a few earn seven figure incomes. These will ‘distort’ high. Government employs about 1 out of every 4 black Bermudians; and Govt has a basic pay band that starts out at about $40k and tops out at $150k.

    Generally, the figures that count ‘blacks’ don’t differentiate between Bermudian and foreign. Same for whites. The whole process of comparison is thus loaded with factors that are neither clearly defined nor clearly measured.

    However, most people will read ‘black’ as ‘black Bermudian’. This ain’t necessarily so. Could be Bangladeshi, African, West Indian, Black Brit, ….. and could be in the lowest paid segment (waiter, landscaper, etc…) where there is a national majority of NON-BERMUDIAN workers who just happen to be black – but not Bermudian.

    Those numbers need to be read with great care. They are often misleading.

  3. Zippy,

    I think you have your numbers wrong because I believe the total workforce in Bermuda has been in excess of 38,000 for a number of years and I believe there are some 8,000+ expats working withing the economy.

    Based purely on the employment numbers shown I doubt these are inclusive of expats.

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