Friday, June 17, 2011

Just a Thought

There is a lot of poor science in the world regarding differences in income between men and women. You read stuff about how woman earn so many percentage points of what a man makes in a particular field.

So Bob, a male accountant with Company X, earns $135K per year while Sally, a female colleague, earns $120K per year. OMG, she only earns 89% of what he earns even though both have 22 years of experience!

What the article might not describe is how many years with the company each has, whether there have been interruptions in the career track, etc.

What is very common in this scenario is that Bob went to work with Company X immediately after college and has worked there the whole 22 years, while Sally worked at Company L for the first 5 years after graduating and took the next 6 years off before returning to work at Company X. Although she has 22 years as an accountant, only 17 years has been continuous with Company X and there was a 6-year break in employment.

Do you think both of these accountants should make the same amount or is it reasonable that Bob’s choice should earn him more that Sally’s choices? In my experience, raises, promotions and bonuses are often related to time with the company. Is this what you have seen?

I can anticipate the comments from the estrogen replete crowd (and you know who you are).
Sally should not penalized for taking time off to raise a family!
Sally contributed to the world by raising kids!

Before you flame on me, note that I have not stated my opinion, merely asked for, and predicted, yours.

Now that you hate me, tell me this, would your opinion regarding Sally change if the workplace absence was not related to raising kids?

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