Equal Pay for Equal Work?
June 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm #26538
Women’s advocate and their allies are promoting an “equal pay for equal work” doctrine that sounds fair initially but really breaks down when you stop to think about it.
When you go out to buy a toaster, the theory is that the price reflects the value. A basic toaster might cost, say, $25, but if it can do bagels as well, the seller can justifiably ask for $30, the $5 difference represents added value.
In the work place, two people can execute the same job description (“equal work”) and yet be of unequal value to the employer.
Consider employee A. A is ambitious, ready to put in as much overtime as is needed without complaint, is ready to relocate to an unexciting small town Midwest location if it helps the company, never requests time off for family matters, …you get the picture.
Consider employee B. B is happy with his/her job as is and really has no overpowering desire to advance, declines overtime regularly because of obligations at home, doesn’t want to relocate away from parents, family, and friends, and has family obligations that occasionally take him/her away from work.
Now, I think it’s almost a given that, without making any universal claims, A describes men more often than women, who more often fit the description of B.
So, is it as simple as basing pay on job description alone? And is there a gender gap because of values differences that differ between the genders in enough cases to skew the pay statistics?June 20, 2019 at 5:11 pm #26540
That is a part of it of course and it is appropriate to reward employees who provide more value to a company. This value needs to be documented very well in case of legal action. One factor that is not accounted for is the art of salary negotiation. I believe men on average may press harder for bigger raises than women. And remember raises are usually a percentage, so growth compounds over the years. I had to be aware when given my salary budget. Wage rates are regional. We were supplied local salary data from a third party so that we would stay competitive and legally “safe”. Typically the goal was a +/- 10% ratio compared to the local job market for each position.June 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm #26541
I’m not saying there’s no discrimination against women. There surely is. And, ironically, things like the #MeToo movement may feed it. It’s been established that many businesses—especially small businesses—are avoiding hiring women for fear of harassment claims. In larger businesses, many managers, sometimes by company policy, will not meet in private with females in situations where they might do so with male employees. This could sometimes disadvantage the women.
It’s a classic Catch-22.June 23, 2019 at 5:48 am #26575
Another discussion about this? really?….The thing is there’s no way to make an apples to apples comparison. For example… The place that I work, I happened to know that there is a male employee who does the exact same job that I do. He makes $3.50 more an hour than I do. I have a masters degree, I am bilingual, and he has not. Should I go banging on HR’s door demanding a pay raise? Well I might do that anyway LOL…But what if I told you that I’ve only been working there a couple of months, and he has been there for eight years? It’s like I was trying to explain to Davis in the last thread, you can’t just look at this stuff in black-and-white. Him making more money than me has more to do with his seniority. It’s not because I am a woman. Yawn. Can we talk about something else now? LolJune 23, 2019 at 5:49 pm #26579
Another discussion about this? really?….The thing is there’s no way to make an apples to apples comparison. For example… The place that I work, I happened to know that there is a male employee who does the exact same job that I do. He makes $3.50 more an hour than I do. I have a masters degree, I am bilingual, and he has not. Should I go banging on HR’s door demanding a pay raise? Well I might do that anyway LOL…But what if I told you that I’ve only been working there a couple of months, and he has been there for eight years? It’s like I was trying to explain to Davis in the last thread, you can’t just look at this stuff in black-and-white. Him making more money than me has more to do with his seniority. It’s not because I am a woman. Yawn. Can we talk about something else now? Lol
Ivy, either your company is run on rational principles, in which case the pay represents a difference in value to the company, or it’s irrational and there are any number of possible nonsensical reasons for the difference, including conscious or unconscious gender bias (I’m assuming you’re female from your handle).
Are you equally available to put in overtime? travel? relocate to some hell hole? Do you have obligations to family that override your commitment to your job? If it’s a rational company, things like this may figure in.
June 23, 2019 at 8:08 pm #26581
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Unseen.
@unseen, But how do you ascribe value? And no, life is not always fair. When I started with the company I did need a shift accommodation because I’m a single parent. I’ve now got that sorted and I will be working a full-time shift but I’m still not as flexible as my scheduling as he is. I also didn’t negotiate when I got hired on because of the fact that I had already asked for a shift accommodation. As far as value how do you ascribe value? I am bilingual. I have a Masters degree. I have previous experience. I’m really good at my job. But I also have a disability that I’ve had to disclose. He on the other hand crosses boundaries in inappropriate ways. But in a weird sort of way he’s actually very effective at his role. He is well liked by the patients and he sort of become a household name. Just the other day we were all joking that he’s like the bouncer of the place lol! I am way more educated but he has a lot more tenure….Now that I have been able to adjust my own life situation and I am able to give a full-time effort, I am going to be asking for a pay increase…But I don’t feel in any way that I’ve been discriminated against “Just because I am a woman.” Is there possibly some discrimination against me because I’m a single parent and I can’t be flexible? Absolutely. But that’s not the same thing. And it also falls on my shoulders that I wasn’t able to negotiate properly from the start. I let them have me for cheap to get my foot in the door. But now I’m in a position where I would happily walk away and go make more money somewhere else. Way more money…I may or I may not. I have lots of options. I have way more options than he does because I have way more skills… So what’s really fair? This is what I’m saying. Yes we are in the same role. But there’s a lot of factors to consider when determining why men make more than women.June 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm #26582
But how do you ascribe value?
I don’t ascribe value, they do. While your circumstances may have improved, you have to live with your history. It might be time to change jobs and get a fresh start with another empoloyer.June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm #26583
It might be time to change jobs and get a fresh start with another employer.
Why in the world would that be a good idea?June 23, 2019 at 11:51 pm #26587June 24, 2019 at 12:04 am #26588
you can’t just look at this stuff in black-and-white
Ivy that is such a ridculous example. Work place seniority can easily be controlled for in statistical analysis. As can pregnancy as well as a long list of sterotypes that claim women are: less educated, less ambitious, less self-sacraficing, less dedicated, less cooperative, less intelligent and so on. Literally, believe it or not…ALL of that can be controlled when crunching the numbers. It is tedious and thankless job…because despite controlling all the excuses…people fabricate preposterous excuses or actually don’t care. When you do an enormous study covering millions of cases and overwhelmingly find that women get cheated out of a considerable salary…you cannot hide behind “it’s complicated”. Yes…there are extenuating circumstances. That could explain away some of the wage disparity but it cannot explain these problems found in companies where seniority is irrelevant and where work is literally quantifiable as is output and where candidates with a totally even slate still see the woman making less. Yes you can indeed go…yeah but what if all those millions of women have only recently joined the company. People literally say stupid shit like that. What if all those millions of women went to worse universities? Ibid. What if all those millions of women getting cheated out of their salary work less and have no ambition. People say shit like that too. Excuses. A problem doesn’t become a chronic systematic and gapingly LARGE problem just because of some obvious “yeah but” that can be accounted for in quantitative and qualitative statistical analysis. The paper I linked to you did controls for a myriad list of, reasonable excuses and many very bad rebuttles and tired sterotypes. It explained a little, it doesn’t explain cases where no differentiating feature between the two employees can be determined except their genitals. That paper was published some time ago. As have many others since the 1980s. People respond in three ways. They come up with some other possible excuse in their mind. I guess if enough universities account for every excuse a person can imagine that eventually they might be taken seriously. Second answer…they see it as just the way the world works and trusts that things will get better on their own so stop bugging me about it. Third: they admit that there actually might be something to it, support investigating it further and consider making work place changes to limit the possibility of unfair wage disparities.June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am #26589
It might be time to change jobs and get a fresh start with another employer.
It reminds me of someone who told a gay friend who was discriminated at work “just go find another job where they are less homophobic”. It was the guys dream job where he invested a lot of sweat, hours, dedication and passion…but yeah…abandoning what you’ve built for in the hope you’ll find another company that doesn’t illegally discriminate against you. Yes. You can tell your friend to make all the sacrafices, let people at the company keep discriminating against others, let them get way with something and cross your fingers super tight that it won’t happen again at the next job or you can encourage them to fight if they actually want to fight and support them. Because most others don’t care, don’t believe you, see it as just a slight inconvenience for you or don’t want to get their hands dirty in the complicated details. The kind of people who say “just get over it” are the same kind of people who’d just back their bags and leave their own hard earned home they built because the city had illegally confiscated the land. Of course.
June 24, 2019 at 12:55 am #26593
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Davis.
@davis Sorry but I’m kind of confused about what your position is on this.
It sounds like you feel your progress is blocked where you are now. What would it take you to seek a fairer employment situation.
Only time will tell that. Once I start working full time hours, options will be open for me that are not open for him. He has told me that he has no desire to move up within the organization. I do. The whole reason I’m there is because this position is created to be able to work in to the type of credential I need to get a license within my state to become a case manager. I have high ambitions. And trust me when I tell you, I could go somewhere else but I’m there because I choose to be. So far they have been very good to me. I’m just bringing up the salary issue to demonstrate an example of some of the reasons why men might make more than women. Does his eight years with the company account more than my two months with the company just because I have a masters degree? I don’t know. My own personal opinion is that having a degree opens doors but you still have to walk through them and compete just like everybody else. I am never going to be able to compete against men because I’m a single mom. Shit comes up all the time with my kid that I can’t control. So I’m never going to be seen as an equal. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a woman. It has to do with the fact that I can’t always be a yes-man. Any kind of organization will always value a yes-man first and foremost. It has nothing to do with the gender between my legs, and everything to do with corporate mentality. It doesn’t matter where I go it’s the same everywhere.June 24, 2019 at 2:13 am #26597
@davis I don’t believe any research can do more than indicate answers based on only those factors taken into account. Have all extant factors been taken into account? Who knows? What role does personal preference of a manager become unreasonable?
Say I run a medium-sized business. I’m a distributor with about a couple hundred employees and about 30 managerial-level people. I’m constantly expanding, most recently into Kansas and Arkansas, two states most workers here in Oregon don’t dream of moving to. In my experience, women have been less helpful than men when it comes to populating new locations with experienced managers. When they don’t give excuses—often family and friends related—they have, in my experience, insufficient commitment and drive, and their tendency to let personal matters distract them has been a problem.
Suppose someone is applying who perfectly fits the job, has the experience and portfolio showing they can do the job, but has a police record as well. Fifteen years ago they embezzled $50,000 from their employer at the time. Surely, it’s not unreasonable of me to reject them, even if they have paid off their “debt to society.”
The point I’m trying to make is that in our capitalistic world, the manager’s first duty is to maximize profits and protect the company’s assets. At what point does society have a right to say “You must hire this person, or else”?
June 24, 2019 at 2:27 am #26598
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Unseen.
I don’t believe any research can do more than indicate answers based on only those factors taken into account.
I wouldn’t even go that far. You can’t always attribute for all factors involved. I suppose if you had candidate A who is a female, And candidate B who is a male. Hired on the exact same day for the exact same job. With the exact same previous experience. With the exact same negotiating skills coming to the table when it comes to discussing salary. With the exact same educational background. The exact same interests and hobbies….If you then concluded that somehow the male candidate was given more money than the female…<i>maybe</i>…Maybe you could conclude that they were prejudiced against the female just because she was a woman, and therefore paid her less. Large scale studies like the one that Davis presented in the other discussion blatantly say they CANT draw a causal conclusion or figure out what if any discriminatory factors are present. Everybody discriminates. It’s part of human nature. Life isn’t fair for anybody. I know it sucks but… It either makes you a snowflake or a warrior. But laws are not gonna make it any better. I know of some instances where it’s made it worse.
June 24, 2019 at 2:40 am #26600
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by PopeBeanie. Reason: bq fix
One major reason for discriminating against women, especially in businesses too small to be subject to fairness in hiring laws is a result of #MeToo. Managers feel they take less risk of sexual harassment charges by simply keeping women away from the business entirely. And when they do hire women, they may only meet with them with a chaperone or with the office door open, and not do the same for men.
People—all people—have attitudes (one person’s attitude is someone else’s prejudice), and at what juncture does the government have sufficient standing and interest to intrude in hiring and and promotion matters.
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