26 Jan 2004 Should Government Make Sure Women are Paid as Much as Men?
A thoughtful response to our latest What Conservatives Think. This edition was on the topic of alleged pay disparity between the genders.
I am an adjunct faculty member of a local community college, and I discussed this subject in a Human Resource Management course that I recently taught.
A major factor in “apparent” discrepancies in pay is the pay scales themselves. It isn’t so much that women are not being promoted as rapidly or paid the same as men. On the contrary, from recent information women are, by virtue of emphasis, promoted a little quicker than men (on average). However, in a number of places, civil service among them, the pay scales of higher grades overlap pay scales of the grade immediately below. If a person, in this case a woman, gets promoted quickly, she jumps up to the pay scale that overlaps. Consequently, she may show up earning the same or possibly even less in her new job than a man who has spent nine years or so in the grade below her.
I don’t pretend that this is the sum total of apparent disparity, but it is a large portion of the perception of inequity. Adding this information to that which you have provided, the pay disparity in a number of cases is probably reversed.
Nevertheless, I don’t take issue with the pay process itself. As long as there is no built-in gender bias, then leave it alone for the moment. There is variation in all processes, and this is no different. If there is a way to improve the process so there is less variation, then do it, but don’t interfere with it. That is, don’t inject a factor that favors gender bias of the woman (or man) because of the perception of pay disparity.
PERSONAL NOTE: In my observation, liberals will “whine” no matter what you do, and the pay process is no different. Even when they wind up getting their way, if something goes wrong, it’s usually the conservatives’ fault. I realize this last statement is somewhat opinionated on my part; nevertheless,viewing life through a filter that has unalterable principles makes for a much better view of real inequities than the confusion of social liberalism that observes few if any stable principles.
[Name Withheld By Request]