The Purpose of This Bl;og

By and large, liberals are very decent, kind, and compassionate people who genuinely want what is best. This should be kept in mind as we explore the Law of Unintended Negative Consequences near invariably resulting from Leftist big-hearted solutions to societal problems.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work - Different Jobs, Different Pay

There are two aspects of the "equal pay for equal work" slogan--i.e. "pay" and "work." In order for the slogan to correctly apply, the work needs to be equal as well as the pay.

Do women do equal work as men? Or, in other words do women do the same jobs as men?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2012, in the general category of "Management, Professional, and Related Occupations," even though the majority (52%) of workers in that category were women, their median weekly earnings were about 71% that of men. (See HERE, pp. 4-5)

Why is that?

As the BLS explained: "Within this occupational category...the proportion of women employed in the higher paying job groups is much smaller than the proportion of men employed in them. In 2012, 9 percent of women in professional and related occupations were employed in the relatively high-paying computer and engineering fields, compared with 45 percent of men in this field.Women in professional and related occupations were more likely to work in education and healthcare jobs, in which the pay is generally lower than that for computer and engineering jobs. Sixty-eight percent of  women in this occupational category worked in the education and healthcare fields in 2012, compared with 30 percent of men." (ibid.)

Joan Weiner reports: "On the first point, rocket scientists certainly do make more than teachers. The median wage for an aerospace engineer in 2012 was $103,720, almost double the $53,400 a typical elementary school teacher could expect to make that year. It’s also true that only about 14 percent of architects and engineers are women, while more than 80 percent of elementary and middle school teachers are women. Over all occupations, women’s wages would be lower than men’s wages due to differences in occupational choices." (See HERE)

Furthermore, "Men are also more likely to have dangerous jobs, high stress jobs, and work longer hours than women. These kinds of jobs tend to pay more. About 93 percent of all workplace fatalities are men." (see HERE)  Men "dominate jobs that are in an unpleasant environment (sanitation vs. child care), require harder-to-attain skills (physics vs. philosophy), require longer work hours, demand financial risk (entrepreneur vs. teaching), are inconvenient (i.e., relocation), are hazardous (construction vs. librarian)." (See HERE)

So, no, women are not doing the same jobs, or equal work, as men.

Now, people are free to object all they want to engineers getting paid more than teachers--for all the good it will do. Either way, the difference in pay isn't because of some mythical gender bias or prejudice against female-dominated professions, but a function of free-market forces like supply/demand.

In truth, as a general rule, women have chosen to work in lower paying careers, and men have chosen otherwise. It isn't that women and men aren't getting equal pay for equal work. Instead, what is happening is that they, by choice, are getting different pay for different work.

This means that in order for liberals to decrease income disparity using their preferred method of government intervention, they would have to force a sizable number of women to abandon their chosen and desired careers in education and healthcare, etc., and herd them instead into higher paying computer and engineering fields, or more dangerous and stressful occupations where they may have little interest.

In other words, attempts to achieve the goal of wage equality would require violating women's right to choose their own careers.

I am not sure this Leftist-LUNC would meet with much approval even among the liberals.

Also, among workers who were paid hourly rates in 2012, 6 percent of women and 3 percent of men had hourly earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25."(ibid. p.8) In other words, proportionately speaking, and for whatever reasons, more than twice as many women as men chose to work in the lowest paying jobs.

For an explanation as to why these Leftist LUNCs may occur, please see: Gov: Wrong Tool for the Right Job - Introduction and Cold Nanny as well as The Politics of Compassion, Emotions, Ignorance, Denial, Blame-Shifting, Equality, and Victimization

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