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I'm sorry, I forgot this one:

"It is part of the reason why women doing the same jobs as men or work of equal value are persistently paid less than their male colleagues."

Or maybe they're paid less because they don't negotiate their contract well. Less assertive guys or those less involved in their job have exactly the same problem. And before you say I minimize discrimination of women, just tell me if there is any study going beyond simply crosschecking gender with salary. Such simplistic correlations are dangerous and no serious proof of discrimination, but only of the incompetence of those who make them.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has a long running body of research looking at pay inequality between men and women. It looks in detail not only at salaries although that is what the headlines boil down to - but it looks in detail at occupational segregation, and the gender proportions at different levels of responsibility, and across different sectors.  It uses case studies to draw comparisons between men and women doing the same jobs, or like work, or work of equal value (as set out in the legislation).  

It's fine to say that less assertive men may not negotiate higher salaries as the more aggressive and dominant ones but the way it all averages out - in some sectors in the UK there is a 40% pay gap between men and women. How do you explain that?  The average is about 14%. That is not purely down to men on the whole being better at negotiating their contracts than women are. And in fairness should an individual's contract be down to how well that individual can negotiate it?  Because then it opens up for unfair practice and favouritism for each individual, not just within the groups we've been talking about.

For all to be fair, for all people, within genders and between genders, a systematic pay scale and grading and job evaluation methodology should be used.  So people who do similar jobs with the same levels of responsibility, should be paid the same for that.  What UK research shows is that even with these 'fair' pay systems there are still numerous examples of women being paid less than men who are doing the same jobs.

An example that is a hot potato right now is with local councils - cleaning staff are much more likely to be women, the bin collectors are more likely to be men.  It's widely established that the jobs are equivalent in terms of level of responsibility and it constitutes work of equal value - yet the bin collectors get paid significant enough sums more than the cleaners. So for all to be fair, the cleaners should be being paid the same or closer to the amount the bin collectors earn.  There's no question of trying to make more men be cleaners or more women be bin collectors but where it can be shown that the work is equivalent, they should be paid fairly.

I'm not trying to make you agree with me (extremely unlikely!) but to give an understanding of how I have come to my viewpoint and how the British system has developed the way it has.

Another thing to mention is that there is evidence of a pay gap for certain ethnicities compared to white people.  This can't be explained by a difference in educational attainment.  I don't think it could be reasonable to suggest that black people are less good at negotiating their contracts than white people so it leads us to wonder what could be the cause of a pay gap between black and (some) asian groups compared to white people.   There is much less research available on that to be able to discuss it in detail.  This is where the motivation for more research comes from - is this a real issue, is there a race pay gap and if yes what could be causing that?

There is very clear evidence of a disability pay gap too, again which is not explained by a difference in educational qualifications or level of experience and nor by things like sickness absence - when all those have been accounted for, there is still an unexplained factor as to why there is a pay gap and a significant different in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.  I think it's worth trying to get to the bottom of, not by making assumptions one way or the other but through robust research.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"in some sectors in the UK there is a 40% pay gap between men and women. How do you explain that?"

No idea. Between the two of us, it might be discrimination. Otherwise, I'd look at the job profiles and at the whole process. Just by looking at the average, I can't make an anti-discrimination law.
Wide averages show men life expectation is 10 years shorter than women's (TBG). What does that tell you? Shouldn't we send the men to retirement 10 years earlier? What's the actual situation?

Bottom line: sector or industry wide average is not enough, you've got to look into it, to the root causes. Or else, you're doing statistical experiments on the society's defenceless body. Frankenstein. Or Stalin.

"And in fairness should an individual's contract be down to how well that individual can negotiate it"

I admit it can be unfair, on the other hand we should know how to "sell" ourselves, I guess... I don't know.

"a systematic pay scale and grading and job evaluation methodology should be used.  So people who do similar jobs with the same levels of responsibility, should be paid the same for that"

Now you're speaking my language - just when I was thinking it extremely unlikely! :)
It looks like my previous proposition for a standardised CV. (unapplicable, that is :P )

"There's no question of trying to make more men be cleaners or more women be bin collectors but where it can be shown that the work is equivalent, they should be paid fairly"

I totally agree on principle (SEE!!! :) ). About this precise case: I'm wondering, maybe bin collecting is considered much more physical a job?... I'm not trying to excuse the system.

"a pay gap for certain ethnicities compared to white people"

Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries. But it's hard to make a process of intention for that. Salary is negotiated, not imposed by the state. So one is offering, the other accepting, or the other way around. Now maybe some companies systematically propose inferior salaries to non-whites. Maybe they have reasons (I'd like to hear them), or just taking advantage. The others should not accept. I know it's easy to say - just the case with women. Employment market is extremely delicate, mixing arbitrare criteria with economic ones with human ones.

In any case, it doesn't work as easily as you expressed it in the statement I originally replied to:

"With recruitment the monitoring forms gives an idea of the numbers of people from different groups who apply and who get appointed in an organisation.  So it helps to highlight whether they are getting no applications from ethnic minorities or if they get a high number of applications from women but no women are getting appointed. Therefore the organisation needs to make changes to be more inclusive or to address any causes for there being a poor diversity of applicants or appointees."

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, you probably simplified the process.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries.

I'm not talking about migrant workers - that is a separate issue.  I'm talking about British black/asian people.  In the same way that a woman doing the same job as a male colleague on apparently the same pay scale and with pretty much the same job spec can prove she is being paid less, there are examples of that between black and white people.

Migrant workers typically take the low paid and low skilled jobs because it is still better money than they were getting at home.  Unfortunately language barriers and lack of awareness about rights means that they are a group that is especially vulnerable to exploitation, often not being paid the minimum wage and working long hours under terrible conditions - this is largely because they are being threatened with dismissal if they don't agree to this and they cannot afford it - especially if their accommodation is tied in with the job.

The vulnerable workers group also overwhelmingly includes women who get placed in the same situation and not knowing their rights, they put up with terrible conditions and pay because they can't afford to complain and lose their jobs.

See the Vulnerable Workers Report for more.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 04:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got very little to add to this. Coming to the aid of vulnerable groups is a truly noble and justified cause. These groups by definition include people who are weaker from one reason or another - women, immigrants, people from bad neighbourhoods. I also agree that women in particular were in large majority suffocated by what it was a mostly men's society in terms of political and economical power. The generalization of women education has had fantastic results in the evolution of their condition.

But when it comes to laws, I don't think categories or category-biased laws are the right way (be it by gender, race, origin, or other criteria). IMO the way France treats citizens uniformly concerning race and origin is a better method, which must be doubled by even stronger efforts on education and support of the vulnerable individuals.
And my dream is to see this kind of moderation, punishing proven discrimination, not inferred by statistics, and a general preoccupation for fairness to all associations active in this effort.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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