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Bingo! Right on, Margaret.

While women will privately share their personal histories of systemic pay victimization, men in our profession rarely admit how often they have "negotiated" disproportionately discounted wages and salaries for protected classes. Saving money for their employers was (and probably still is) more important than pay equity. Female complaints, coming from biased sources, are dismissed. Guys who confirm those abuses tend to be ostracized. The more things change, the more they stay the same ... unless we all step up.

Speaking of WorldatWork's position statement, I wish they had advocated for better research on whether a gender pay gap really exists.

Advocates for more legislative control over the issue like to point at the 77 cent number as if it is irrefutable. The problem is that the number comes from the US Census using a methodology that any credible compensation professional would discard in a nanosecond.

Here is a recent discussion on the gender pay gap on WorldatWork's discussion board. https://www.worldatwork.org/community/discussions/discuss.jsp?did=51787

Even guys who support contentions that a pay gap continues to exist agree that the 77 cents claim is a garbage metric. The reality that the real gap is more like 10% +/- 5% remains true for "comparable" work. Considering the additional issues of occupational segregation whereby job titles are tweaked so as to concentrate protected classes in low-paid work categories, the income disparity remains serious.

The real pay discount is less than 23% but still improper and significant. Would you accept a 10% income cut? Let's continue to address the real issue rather than merely reject a simplified exaggerated one.

The last pay equity research of its own membership funded by the compensation association produced an embarrassing confirmation of gender pay discrimination. After all variable factors imaginable had been equalized, you had to subtract 14.3% if female. Don't wait for them to redo that study again!

In my experience, roles define the compensation first. Roles women choose therefore define their compensation levels first. Then there is the negotiation skill or lack thereof, non competitive spirit, and loyalty factors. Most of us know if we change jobs more frequently chances are compensation goes up more rapidly. Women are more content to stay with one employer, I think, and hope for the best. However, I see plenty of men who have loyally stayed with a company and fall behind the new hire.
Bottom line, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

That 14.3% gender pay gap calculation is older than Rip Van Winkle.

I think it IS time to redo that study if people continue to leverage fake numbers to achieve greater government interference with organizational pay policies.

My main point is that WorldatWork could provide a greater service to the compensation community if they advocate (help fund?) better research into the real gender pay gap.

Karen, I fear that sometimes wheels get replaced if the grease doesn't stop the squeaking.

... or they claim the squeaking is actually just background music that can continue to be ignored or even enjoyed.

Yes, we certainly do need an updated comprehensive credible study, but there is absolutely no commercial motive for such research. Fair pay is a vital economic issue affecting virtually every worker; but who will study it? Why spend millions trying to cure rare diseases while ignoring almost universal pay equity problems?


I appreciate the further discussion.

How do you know there are "almost universal pay equity problems"? Because of a lot of anecdotal stories you have heard? Or because government bureaucrats keep citing a 77 cent gap (that you and I both know if a flawed number)?

Sorry, Jim, but I'm not convinced yet there are "almost universal pay equity problems". But I'm keeping my mind open to someone showing me statistically valid and measured proof.

Naw, my recognition of the issue preceded emphasis of that vague metric by the NCWW and its successor NCPE. It was a 28 cent gap back then and has closed as slowly as I predicted many decades ago. Yes, the current 23 cent gap in SOC pay by gender is terribly imprecise, as silly as saying a truck driver is always worth more than a secretary ... when some executive secretaries and most secretaries of state clearly hold jobs with superior market values over drivers.

Long story short, I started in HR running "help wanted female" ads, obediently dropping the rates for women. After my professional childhood, I helped reverse engineer all the principal point factor job evaluation systems; we discovered that different pay formulae were required for n/e vs ex jobs to "accurately" reflect the lower pay for the same content required to maintain "free open competitive local market" rates due to systemic sexist/racist occupational segregation. Many decades of analyzing the internal pay records of hundreds of consulting client employers also resulted in consistent findings of double standards in pay 'twixt WASP guys and all other classes. It wasn't pretty. Not everyone has seen it, of course.

P.S. More formal measured proof exists for my good friend Paul and all others interested in "valid" pay equity studies. Check out the historic 1981 NatnlAcadSci Women Work and Wages report by Dan Treiman & Heidi Hartmann and the later Description of Selected Nonfederal Job Evaluation Systems, GAO/GGD-85-57, July 31, 1985, available from either GAO or the Gov Printing Office. Political appointees dismissed the remedial concepts as "looney tunes", so neither well-documented scientific report was ever repeated. Truth is frequently unpopular.

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