Voices of a generation: Pay equity: how much of a real gap exists

By Sonia Sangregorio on February 5, 2009

In the year 2009, we still ask ourselves are men being paid a higher wage to do the exact same job as women. When answering the question the obvious answer is yes and many believe that women are being discriminated in the work place when it comes to promotions, salaries and what we refer to as statistical discrimination. We refer to statistical discrimination when a person applying for a job is not taken into consideration because she or he is not part of what statistics show to be the more productive group in the society. 

In my opinion, when we are analyzing a certain concern or situation in our society, the most important factor is look at the situation from all angles. Basically in order to describe a simple object we must look at it from different perspectives to better understand it. When looking at statistics referring to wage differences we do see a difference between the two groups. In my opinion it is when looking at these statistics that people might not take into consideration, the different factors that affect wages directly  and could explain the differences, that we get the whole picture.

 There are many factors that affect the outcome of someone’s salary. The two most important  are education and workplace experiences. As we are more aware of these days, there is a positive correlation between these two factors and wages.. When statistics compare the salaries of men and women with the same educational background and the same labour market experience the wage gap practically disappears. 

manwomanmoneybanksbw.jpgAnother factor that has to be taken into consideration is the amount of time spent working on a weekly basis. Statistics show that men work more hours per week then women and they also shows that  women work more on a part-time basis. The number of hours per week that one puts into their jobs is obviously the foundation of their salaries. Therefore someone who works less hours, men or women, do have a lower salary.  Productivity is another of the most important factors in determining wages. If someone is more productive, he or she is worth the investment of their employer in paying them a higher wage. The investment of the employer in this worker brings positive outcome to their business which can be eiher in their form of profits, a greater output per hour or simply in creating customer loyalty. There are many more factors that could have a impact on wages: marital status, seniority, health, training and absenteeism. These factors are all important when looking at wages differences; we cannot simply jump to the conclusion of discrimination when a woman is paid less than a man. 

I’m not saying that it never happens. But my point I am making is that in this new millennium we are all too far educated and analytical to allow leaps to such extreme conclusions without looking a all the facts.  In my university years, a professor once said in one of his lectures, hat in order to really analyze something and to understand it, we need to look at it from all its angles. This most simple notion changed the way I see and understand events and our society’s issues today. There are  many factors that affect wages and when one truly examines all of them, we can really see the wage gap decreasing between men and women. 


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