Pay inequality persists? Well, that’s not politically incorrect!
What if I told you, gender wage gaps persist even in markets where workplace discrimination is impossible or unlikely?!
Whatcha you talkin about, Tim!?
Female Uber Drivers make 7% less than male drivers, even though, none of us even know if a male or female driver will pick us up. The algorithm specifically doesn’t allow us to request or know. So, how can Uber Drivers have a gender pay inequality issue?
Okay, so here’s where this might become a bit politically incorrect for those who want to make it that and ignore facts. Turns out, Men, more than women, drive faster, so they will make more on average driving for Uber than women. Also, Men are more likely to on request for rides in more congested, riskier areas, which tend to carry higher fares.
You can call it pay inequality. Some will call it a performance difference, in this particular position, in this particular profession.
One more example, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a gig worker site, which also only measures users performance and does not measure gender, also shows gender pay inequality across it’s users to the tune of 10.5%! Amazon’s Mechanical Turk pays men 10.5% more than women for the same work, even though they have no idea the person doing the work is a man, woman, non-binary gender, etc.
So, what gives!? Again, it comes back to performance. Researchers found:
“For 22,271 Mechanical Turk workers who participated in nearly 5 million tasks, we analyze hourly earnings by gender, controlling for key covariates which have been shown previously to lead to differential pay for men and women. On average, women’s hourly earnings were 10.5% lower than men’s. Several factors contributed to the gender pay gap, including the tendency for women to select tasks that have a lower advertised hourly pay. This study provides evidence that gender pay gaps can arise despite the absence of overt discrimination, labor segregation, and inflexible work arrangements, even after experience, education, and other human capital factors are controlled for. Findings highlight the need to examine other possible causes of the gender pay gap.”
Okay, don’t shoot the messenger! I’m only reporting the news!
Funny thing is, the authors (both male and female) of this Northwestern University study also were very concerned about people thinking they were being politically incorrect, actually making a plea within the published paper telling people they weren’t being politically incorrect!
Here’s the problem with all of this. Men can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than women. Women can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than men. I haven’t seen a study on non-binary genders, yet, but I can guess that Non-binary genders can and will do certain jobs, on average, better than both men and women!
This is why we have to be very careful when looking at gender pay inequality data at a macro-level. Of course, we have gender pay issues. But throwing out macro numbers does not help solve the problem. As leaders and HR professionals it’s our job to find the specific pay issues we have and correct those.
We love to believe, especially in our overly charged social climate we are in currently, that there are always bad actors at play when things like this happen. That’s not always the case, and we (the collective we) lose credibility when we make things like gender pay inequality a macro issue to leaders and executives who don’t have those issues or have them in very narrow categories which they were unaware.
Let’s find the inequalities. Let’s discover the reason for these inequalities. Then, let’s make things right that need to be made right. Right now, we have a lot of righting to do, but my hope is that won’t always be the case. So, assume positive intent, first, and let’s make our world better for everyone.