Gender pay gap is greatly exaggerated, new study says

The gender pay gap is 22 cents on the dollar! Something must be done!

. . . would you believe 15 cents on the dollar?

. . . . . . er, how about a nickel?

A new pay equity study conducted by Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist for, has performed an invaluable service in taking the roughly 21-cent pay gap between men and women -- the basis for new "comparable worth" legislation, and for the federal government to justify things like the EEOC's new compensation-reporting proposal -- and actually controlling for a few factors.

The 22-cent (or so) gap is based on an unsophisticated comparison of all women in the workforce with all men in the workforce. A waitress at the greasy spoon in Paris, Illinois, is in the "female" pool, being compared with Bill Gates of Xanadu 2.0, in the "male" pool.

The Glassdoor study found that when appropriate comparators were used -- that is, men and women in the same job titles, same age groups, working for the same employers and in the same parts of the country -- the "21-cent" penalty for being female decreased substantially. There is still a gap, but when apples are compared with apples, women earn about 94.6 cents for every dollar that men earn.

The Glassdoor survey was based on compensation information provided by users of Glassdoor, who are job-hunting online. Thus, the Glassdoor population is generally more affluent than the population on which government surveys are based. However, when comparing "all women" with "all men," the Glassdoor gap was almost the same as the government's gap: Glassdoor found a 22-cent pay gap before it began controlling for other variables.

Of course, there shouldn't be any gap at all, but a gap of 5.4 cents is a lot better than 21 cents and may be something we can fix without imposing drastic legislative and regulatory requirements on employers.

YouTube clip from The Bill Dana Show (1963), with Bill Dana, Don Adams, and Sheldon Leonard.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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