The American Association of University Women released its Spring 2017 Gender Pay Gap report/guide with statistics regarding the pay disparity between women and men. In this issue of Astronology®, we look into how broad these pay disparities truly are and how this situation impacts Human Resources.
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), in 2015 women earned 80% of what men earned. The smallest pay gap was found in New York, where women earned 89% of what men earned. Delaware came in second at close to 89%, with Florida third at 87%. The largest pay gaps were Louisiana at 68% and Wyoming at 64%. Some writers highlight that the AAUW’s findings do not take into account personal choices with respect to careers. These choices or factors include college major, occupation, industry, hours worked, workplace flexibility, and experiences.
Yet in AAUW’s recent research findings, unexplained pay gaps still exist even when men and women have the same level of education. For instance, women with a Bachelor’s degree make 74% of what their male counterparts with the same education earn. Women with a high school graduation level education made 78% of what their male counterparts earned.
In regards to industry, there is research that notes a few fields were women make more than their male counterparts. These fields tend to be historically male-dominated fields such as riggers, small engine mechanics, and non-oil & no-gas drillers. For many industries, however, a gender pay gap exists, with male counterparts making more. In some cases, the gaps are closer than others. These findings, plus additional research & speculation, lead many to believe that personal choices can’t fully account for the gender pay gap. Adding to the importance of the discussion, a 2013 Pew Research Center report finds that 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.
What can HR departments do to prevent gender-based pay disparity? Keeping accurate records is an important step. The AAUW urges employers to “conduct salary audits to proactively monitor and address gender-based pay differences.” Astron Solutions offers an array of packages to support organizations in the quest for fair and equitable compensation programs. We encourage you to learn more about how we can be your trusted partner in this critical and sensitive matter! If you do not use an outside consultant, however, closely watching your organization’s internal salary increases, salaries for new hires, and salary changes associated with promotions is critical in eliminating gender-based pay gaps in your organization. An ounce of prevention today is worth a pound of cure tomorrow.