This blog features information provided by RealTime Talent to Ramsey County for their Untapped Talent Series. Please be sure to register for this event! This blog post highlights talent and workforce data for Black talent in Ramsey County and is the second in a series of four posts.

Talent and Workforce

In Ramsey County, Black talent accounts for 10.9% of the county’s workforce compared to 8.6% in the  7-County MSP Metro.

The graph below shows the wage gap between average monthly earnings of Black talent and all talent overall in Ramsey County.

The Wage Gap for Black Talent in Ramsey County[1] 

Average Monthly Earnings (Stable Jobs) by Race, Wage Gap from Group Average[2] 

Each industry group has a wage gap for Black talent in Ramsey County, with Finance and Insurance having the largest wage gap at $3,013, followed by Manufacturing at $2,380.

The demand for talent in the Information Technology (IT) sector is growing and in fact, outpacing local supply in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro. It is anticipated that for Ramsey County, IT careers are forecast to grow by at least 0.5% annually, well beyond what the current talent pool can supply. While Ramsey County has one of the most racially-diverse and youngest IT workforces in Minnesota, Black, American Indian, and Hispanic/Latinx IT talent lag significantly behind overall employment representation in Ramsey County. Black talent comprises just 5.1% of the IT workforce in Ramsey County.

Most IT job postings in Ramsey County include educational requirements for a BA or higher, but employers increasingly are emphasizing sills as more important indicators for success.

The following is the share of Black talent by Occupation Group:

  • Healthcare: 14.6%
  • Information Technology: 5.1%
  • Finance: 8.6%
  • Manufacturing: 11.4%
  • Construction: 8.9%
  • Agriculture: 8.9%

The graph below was built with the Center for Economic Inclusion Diversity Indicator Tool and shows the percentage of Minnesotans who reported experiencing employment discrimination in 2021.[3]

Percent of Minnesotans who report having experienced employment discrimination, State of Minnesota, 2021

Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian workers in the MSP Metro continue to navigate exclusionary labor markets, due to the biases and exclusionary practices of employers. This discrimination prevents qualified jobseekers from contributing their ideas to benefit the region and therefore is harmful to our regional economy. In 2021, most of Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic communities indicated they believe their group experiences discrimination when applying for jobs.

Workforce Opportunities 

The following are driving issues for lack of representation of Black talent: technology access; digital skills; asynchronous learning opportunities; credit for prior learning; credentialing. There has been some shifting in job postings with additional emphasis placed on skills rather than simply on educational requirements. Careers that rely on certification or Associate’s degrees are often a promising initial step into a long-term career path.

The Origin-Gateway-Target occupation model, designed by McKinsey Global Institute, focuses on various pathways for workers to reach “Target” jobs. This model considers where occupation gaps (or talent shortages) are likely due to less-than-sufficient local talent pipelines, and where award gaps may be present, indicated by local postsecondary institutions producing low volumes of related graduate awards compared to a national benchmark.  Across Minnesota, Healthcare, IT, and Finance positions have the largest skill gaps between Gateway Occupations and Target Occupations, and historically have required formal postsecondary education to fuel career advancement.

In the MSP Metro area and especially in Ramsey County, the most in-demand Gateway and Target IT, Finance, and Business occupations of focus have an underrepresentation of Black talent. To advance a more inclusive regional economy, Workforce Development practitioners and business must work together to ensure equitable access to these promising careers.

To read more about the Origin, Gateway, Target occupation model, check out this earlier blog post from Erin Olson and Brian Lindsley. There are demonstrated gaps in wages in each industry, exclusionary practices of employers, and additional barriers for Black talent in Minnesota and Ramsey County. These shifts in job postings offer an increase in opportunities for Black talent. Efforts to expand access to technology, in-demand credentials, and further building in-demand skills, offer a potential increase in opportunities for talent to fill workforce needs. Our next blog post will focus on population and education data for Hmong talent in Ramsey County.

[1] Population Demographics from Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015-2019 5-Year ACS Estimates.

[2] Population Demographics from Chmura JobsEQ 2021Q4 analysis of Ramsey County BLS demographics by race and ethnicity. Unemployed Talent Demographics from Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015-2019 5-Year ACS Estimates. Quarterly Workforce Indicators, 2021Q2 data, accessed 6.16.2022 at

[3]  American Public Media, visualized by Center for Economic Inclusion. Accessed 6.22.2022 at