Calling all women...

October 18, 2012

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about women and equality in the workplace and as an HR and payroll expert for many years, would like to provide my perspective...

Currently, in the U.S., a topic of heated debate is equal pay for men and women working in the same job. American women are also increasingly concerned about employment opportunities as females have taken it particularly hard in the nation’s struggling economy with some of the highest unemployment rates we’ve seen in decades. They are demanding a higher priority be placed on these issues.

First, I’d like to address the topic of equal pay for equal work. I’ve been in the business of hiring, paying and managing benefits for enterprise workforces for over 40 years, and with that experience, I can confirm that men are typically paid more than women for the same work. In all honesty, I don’t think that legislation or protests will be particularly effective in addressing this issue. Here’s why:

  • American businesses are struggling as it is, and certainly won’t struggle less if they should prioritize equal pay right now during a historically slow economic recovery.
  • Even in a good economy, businesses in a capitalist system enjoy the freedom of making fiscal decisions and don’t necessarily owe salary transparency to employees and new hires.
  • If forced to make a payroll correction, men (and ultimately women as well as the sputtering U.S. economy) could ultimately pay the price given businesses-in my opinion-would be more likely to bring men’s wages down to match the earnings of females rather than raise women’s pay to match existing male salaries.
  • Of course, the larger issue would be who exactly would manage the regulation, implementation and oversight of such a legal requirement, and how might that cost taxpayers, businesses or both.

While I understand the concern over equal pay for equal work and on the surface agree that it should be as simple as “fair is fair”, I’m here to humbly verify that the above list creates so many levels of complications that it would be cost-prohibitive for the government to correct. Yes, this is an archaic practice but one businesses unfortunately depend on to a point where I do not see a correction happening anytime soon, if ever.

Personally, I do not believe it’s a government issue to oversee equal pay for equal work, but more a “bottoms-up” issue. In other words, those who make themselves indispensable will keep their jobs and watch their pay increase, regardless of gender, and that is a guiding principle here at Tiger-Consulting. We proudly reward loyalty and hard work.

Women’s employment issues are so important and timely right now. For these reasons, we’ll continue to address key trends for women as a series in the next few blog entries. Please stay tuned for good news and tips we’ll be offering for the remainder of October.

Sincerely,
Neil Satterwhite
Founder & CEO, Tiger-Consulting

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