One of the reasons the Bubbler exists is because we were frustrated having points of view on the news that we were never hearing in the coverage. And so it goes with the equal pay movement.
The premise of equal pay is that men and women should be paid equally for doing the same job. But no part of that idea holds up to scrutiny.
Start with “the same job.” There are no “same jobs.” Not in the same company, and especially not across different companies. Every job has its own nuances. You work with different teams or individuals. You may have different customers. Perhaps you work different hours. You’re asked to focus on different areas of the business. The list goes on.
Then consider that no two people are alike. There’s no such scenario in which two people of equal skills, background, and training get the same job, but two very different salaries, because there are no two people of equal kills, background, and training.
All people are a product of their life experiences and personalities. We all grew up with different kinds of friends, teachers, parents, coaches, and coworkers. And we did it in different cities with different neighborhoods, rituals, and subcultures. We all have different worldviews which are based on the sum of our experiences.
Even after the experiences that shaped us, there’s our innate personalities and how that informs how we intake and interpret information. No two people see the exact same event alike. Everyone notices, believes, or focuses on different aspects of a situation or event.
No two brains work the same, either. The way my brain digests and interprets events could be very different than someone else with the “same” skills, background, and training. The way my brain works may make me much better suited for the job than another candidate… or much worse.
Also, everyone has different motivations and different levels of motivation. Even the “same” two people may bring a very different hunger or work ethic to the role.
Before we get two wound up about equal pay between genders, consider that men don’t even get paid the same for doing the same job. And women don’t either. Why are we so hellbent on evening out pay between genders when pay isn’t even within the genders.
And why don’t they? Because no two men or no two women are exactly alike, either.
Besides all that, no one should be sharing their income or salary with anyone else, anyway. It’s no one’s business. It’s between the employer and the employee, and that’s it. Companies negotiate salaries with their employees based on many factors: available budget, the skills of the existing team, employee demands, avoiding raise limitations later, importance of filling the position, previous salary of the last person in the job or the last job the prospect had, if the company is growing, if the economy is booming or in a recession, how long you think the employee will be there, what others in the market doing similar jobs are making, etc.
Add those considerations to the varying background and personality differences, and there’s just no such thing as equal salary. And what if there was?
Who bases salary on gender, anyway? I’ve hired more than 100 employees in my life, and I know dozens of hiring managers. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I found this great product manager, and it’s going to cost me a fraction of my budget because she’s a woman.” If it were really less expensive to hire a woman, that’s all companies would hire.
I once offered a job to a woman who asked me for a $35,000 annual salary. I gave her $63,000 because that’s was within the range of others doing similar work.
But also, I knew she was going to be awesome, and I didn’t want her to be stuck with the limitations of 2% raises the rest of her time at the company. Plus, I had the money budgeted, and if I didn’t use it, I’d only be able to pay the person after her $35,000.
If you make salaries equal, you become a union. And union wages are famous for not rewarding motivated over achievers because they’re going to get the same salary as the unmotivated, talentless workers. With standardized salaries, there’s no motivation or incentive to do more than is required. And raises and pay scales are based on tenure, not potential, ability or performance. If we mandate equal pay, that’s where we’ll be heading.
The general concept of equal opportunity for all is absolutely right. But the specific mandate that everyone make the same wages is flawed in too many ways to mention here. (Though I tried.)
Stop sharing salaries with everyone, focus on doing the job you were hired to do, and all will be well.