Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gender Wage Studies Show Salary Differences When None Exist

A comment I posted on Carpe Diem, "There's New Evidence That Employers Do NOT Discriminate Against Single, Childless Women. But Do They Then Discriminate Against Mothers?" by Mark Perry:
Women represent about half of the 130-135 million workers in the US. Given the large size of the US workforce, for there to be any measurable wage discrimination in average salaries, there has to be millions of women who are underpaid and who have the legal right to file discrimination charges against their employers. Where are the numerous lawsuits and Department of Labor complaints? Who are the employers who are discriminating against women?

Gender wage discrimination is only found when male and female employees are grouped by criteria across different employers, such as in the AAUW study cited by Heather Boushey.

How does one control, if one can at all, for different aspects of jobs across different employers? Different employers provide varying amounts of vacation and sick days, carryovers and buyouts for vacation and sick days as for teachers, employee costs of medical benefits, business travel time -- days on the road away from home, risk of injury, reimbursement of employee expenses, frequency of deadlines and need to work late and on weekends, etc.

Gender discrimination wage studies do not find salary discrimination in individual employers. Within companies, employees in a job category are homogenous. They get the same value of benefits and risks. They get the same medical benefits, the same number of sick and vacation days, the same travel obligations, the same frequency of deadlines and need to work late, the same job injury risk, etc.

These gender wage studies just show that male and female employees put values on the differing aspects of jobs in different industries and at different employers. The wage discrepancies in the studies are reflections of the studies' inabilities to quantify all the relevant value aspects of a job.

Within employers, when male-female workers are homogeneous and have similar skills and employee traits, there is no wage discrimination. Only across employers and industries, when male female workers place different priorities on different job characteristics, do any of these studies find a wage difference.

The AAUW study states:

"Women are more likely than men to work in the nonprofit and local government sectors, where wages are typically lower than those in the for-profit and federal government sectors."

The study does not adjust for any benefit differences between private sector and public or non-profit jobs. For example, public sector jobs have pensions and other benefits that are more generous and valuable than private sector jobs, that one can be fired only for cause from the public sector, or that deadlines and travel are rare in public sector and non-profit jobs, etc. The AAUW does not adjust pay for any of these and other job characteristics.

If there is truly gender wage discrimination in the US, the organizations should name the employers responsible.

2 comments :

  1. they must be fair

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  2. That's really unbelievable! How could these companies base their employees' salary by gender and not by their performance? That's really what you called discrimination. Although men and women may have different characteristics and personality, it does not necessarily mean that men are far way better than us women. Good thing I'm one of the lucky ones who are being paid by a payroll outsourcing providers and payroll processing companies according to my performance in our company and not based on my gender.

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