That issue seems to never die. Maybe it shouldn’t. I admit I have an interest in the issue as I have two daughters and two granddaughters to “guard” in this issue as this seems to be a women’s issue. I want them to have opportunities. I also admit that when I started my career in the 70’s that I knew of situations that were unfair to women in the big corporations where I worked for 20 years. I do think this has been fixed there, maybe even tilted to the other side.
I do see the reasoning behind the issue. But, I have some other thoughts on it too. I think the concept is valid for assembly line jobs or similar jobs where everyone does the same thing. I spent my career in a corporate environment and saw some jobs that were kind of like that, mostly in the operations areas such as check processing and other rote jobs. I think that most of these people would have been paid about the same. But I don’t think this is possible for all jobs, and it shouldn’t be. Some of the questions about equal pay that I have are:
• How do you define equal work? By units produced, time spent or what?
• Is everyone actually doing the same job?
• How do you measure job performance?
If you have a job where everyone does the exact same things, you may like equal pay with your co-workers. If your job is more complex you may prefer a free market approach.
I was at a college event several years ago where this issue came up during the discussion of the speaker’s topic. The concept of pay and benefits for young people was being discussed, as well as getting and keeping a job. Someone in the room had made a startling discovery.. a company in town was incorporating raises and/or bonuses to employees based on accomplishing results that benefited the business! Many thought this was a great idea and that other businesses should do this.
What have I missed by not being in corporate life for 25 years? I always assumed that if I did well that I would be rewarded and yes, even promoted and paid more than my peers who were just doing the minimum. The amazing thing to me was that some of these young people thought this was almost a radical new development!
I believe that competitiveness is a very important quality for any business. Like they say: from the bottom up!