ZB

Mike's Minute: Gender pay gap solutions are artificial

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 6 May 2022, 9:32am

Mike's Minute: Gender pay gap solutions are artificial

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 6 May 2022, 9:32am

Another of these strange made up claims this week masquerading as a report that suggests the solving of a problem, or perceived problem, can only happen if we changed the way we did things.

A group called Mind the Gap likes the idea of forcing companies to publish their wages on a gender basis thus embarrassing them in paying more to women.

The claim is, if we did this, we could increase females' pay by up to $35 a week.

The gap on average is currently 9 percent. The reason it's 9 percent is not because people who employ other people don’t like women. It's because women, on the whole, choose different jobs than men, on the whole.

The key there is “on the whole.” This is where you get a distorted view of the world when you average everything out.

Women frequent the aged care sector, for example, more than men. We have been here before, of course. The famous pay equity case involving aged care where we ended up comparing aged care women with mechanics who are men and pretending apples were apples.

There is an inquiry currently underway in Australia looking at the same thing. The warnings are out over whether it addresses anything. In our case, some in the aged care sector got more money. But it still didn’t solve the overall problem, and that was attracting people to the industry.

Artificiality is almost always a mistake. Do you hire women on skill and talent? Or do you hire women so you can close a gap on a chart? The same mad argument applies to the debate over numbers of female CEOs and board members

We must also remember a couple of important things. People must choose what they want to do for work and money is not always a driving force.

If women, on average, chose professions that don’t pay as much as other professions, that’s not automatically a problem. And if, on average, the person who happens to be female earns less than she could if only she changed jobs, but is happy, then that’s not a problem either.

Trying to ratchet your square peg into the round hole you think is fair and equitable is only going to cause trouble because it’s a false economy.

Remuneration is based on demand, supply, and skills, not gender.