Mothers earn less than non-mothers, fathers more than non-

Labour has a plan to fine companies which persistently have a gender pay gap. A fine example of how we’ll never solve a problem unless we correctly diagnose the reason for the problem. On average, over the population, men and women tend to self-select into slightly different types of work. These different types have different values to employers – thus they pay different amounts. And that’s it. That is the cause of that gender pay, or more accurately gender earnings, gap.

This is also something not under the control of employers – fining them for it will therefore not work.

But, you know, the Labour Party:

Labour will fine employers who do not close their gender pay gaps, the party will pledge on International Women’s Day.

Under a Labour government, the party said all private and public employers who have 250 workers or more would not only have to audit their gender pay, but prove they are taking action to close the gap or face a fine from the government.

If it were that the pay gap resulted from discrimination by employers then this might be a solution. I would still oppose it simply because I’m like that but fining people who discriminate illegally does have a certain effectiveness to it. The problem with this solution is that it is already illegal to pay people different amounts for the same job based upon their gender. This also isn’t a problem in UK society – even the varied court cases wending their way through the system are based upon the idea of similar work, not the same.

The actual cause of the observed gap is:

This simple set of known facts, that average human reaction to the arrival of children differs based upon sex, does indeed explain all. Mothers earning perhaps 9 per cent less pay as the result of a child and fathers gaining some 8 per cent against non-fathers explains the “gender” pay gap. Sadly this seems to confuse, or addle, the best minds of our generation. UK companies now report their internal pay gaps. The truth of which is that, in one example, pilots get what pilots get, stewards stewards. There are more male pilots, more female stewards and that’s all.

It is not that men and women get paid different amounts for doing the same job. It is that parents appear to change their working habits, possibly even desires, upon the arrival of offspring.

Fining companies because mothers, more so than fathers and of course on average over the population, put their children before their careers isn’t something that is going to work.

The reason we’ve got this policy even being mooted, let alone announced, is because that underlying cause of the gap is being misidentified. It is about the personal choices of those going out to work, not decisions being made by employers.

The solution therefore just won’t work – not a recommendation for a policy change.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. The truly nutso thing is that if Corbyn ever got into power he has just promised to fine his own party.

    Still, he’d doubtless be rescued by the only principle the Left possesses: don’t do as I do, do as I tell you.

  2. The BBC pay data could just have provided some evidence for tittle-tattle. I am sure many in the BBC might wish it had done just that. That’s because it did so much more. It provided what seems to be pretty damning evidence that there is something wrong at the BBC, which appears to be living in a time warp when it comes to gender equality.

    I make the point for several reasons. First I want the issue addressed.

    Second, I want the information from all companies and organisations. I am quite sure the BBC is not alone in discriminating as it does so I see no reason why it alone should be required to disclose.

    Third, this data proves the power of transparency to promote reform. The clamour for change that exists today would not have happened without information to fuel it.

    The tax justice movement knows information has changed the way we work.

    We also know that having consistent reliable data on who uses tax havens; who owns companies and on the activities of multinational corporations via country-by-country reporting would radically transform what we know about tax and its abuse. And just as the BBC will have to change so would tax behaviour change if we knew more about it.

    No one wants to be known as a cheat. Tax transparency would reveal those who do cheat. That may not stop it all, but it would go a long way to solving the problem. Which is why we will keep in working for tax transparency, taking on the rearguard action being fought by tax haven operators in defence of their defenceless activities.

    • It provided what seems to be pretty damning evidence that there is something wrong at the BBC, which appears to be living in a time warp when it comes to gender equality.

      Did it? What is the evidence for this claim?

      First I want the issue addressed.

      Why? Why does it matter to you what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own contracts?

      Second, I want the information from all companies and organisations. I am quite sure the BBC is not alone in discriminating as it does so I see no reason why it alone should be required to disclose.

      You have not shown that the BBC is discriminating so why would you think anyone else is? It is very unlikely that anyone as Right On as the BBC is actually discriminating and the market means it is unlikely anyone else is either, but let’s not let facts get in the way. So you want something. So what? What is the social good in making private information public?

      Third, this data proves the power of transparency to promote reform. The clamour for change that exists today would not have happened without information to fuel it.

      Well that is not true. The information on the non-existence of the gender gap is out there. No one cares. Teenage Trots will be Trots no matter what the evidence is.

      We also know that having consistent reliable data on who uses tax havens; who owns companies and on the activities of multinational corporations via country-by-country reporting would radically transform what we know about tax and its abuse. And just as the BBC will have to change so would tax behaviour change if we knew more about it.

      Would it? Why do you think that? What social good is there in forcing disclosure?

      No one wants to be known as a cheat. Tax transparency would reveal those who do cheat.

      No it wouldn’t. Because as far as the evidence goes, no one is cheating. Doesn’t stop the likes of you.

      I like tax havens. We need more of them

  3. “The reason we’ve got this policy even being mooted, let alone announced, is because that underlying cause of the gap is being misidentified.”

    Eh? Nah. This isn’t a case of reasonable people being wrong in good faith.

    Feminists don’t give a shit about the truth, just as they don’t care about gender equality when it comes to ditch digging or bin collection. If they cared about facts and logic, they wouldn’t be feminists.

    This is pure, unadulterated “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” politics.

  4. There’s an easy way to achieve gender and ethnic equality in the workplace. At every level, fill all positions with equal numbers of representatives of their gender and ethnicity. That could of course lead to certain positions not being filled, owing to a shortage of qualified candidates, but who cares. If you can’t, for example, fill a position with a Black Female candidate, then you’ll have to fire a White Male to maintain the desired ratios, so now you have two unfilled positions, but who cares.

    My country, RSA, has an ingenious solution to this problem. Because of the dire state of our institutions of higher learning, there is a perennial shortage of qualified Black candidates. To lure suitable candidates from other employers, offer more than you are paying the White Male for the same job. Alternatively you can accept less qualified candidates and pay them the same as the White Male. That might or might not work out, but who cares.

  5. BiND: They’re not demanding the same earnings – they’re already getting that. They’re demanding the same pay regardless of what they earn.

    They don’t want a 40-year-old with 20 years’ experience to get paid the same as a 40-year-old with 20 year’s experience; they want a 40-year-old with five year’s experience to get paid the same as a 40-year-old with 20 years’ experience.

  6. jgh,

    That’s why I said earning rather than pay, I should have qualified it, and we’re in violent agreement just one of us has hold of the wrong end of the terminology stick.

    Your 2nd para sums it up perfectly.

  7. “No one wants to be known as a cheat. Tax transparency would reveal those who do cheat. That may not stop it all, but it would go a long way to solving the problem”

    No it wouldn’t. You just say to the mugs “Happy with the shitty services you are paying through the nose for mug?” Tax Resister’s pride.

    Twatty you are likely some corpulent Murphy stooge with rolls of fat over your neck sweating as you type with desperate speed . That you are here at Contins suggests Murph is also desperate for some payback and thinks that a more public venue might get him less of a savaging. He still doesn’t have the balls to appear in person so he has ordered a stooge like you up to the Front. He is wrong as always about the savaging as well.

    Welcome to Hell.