Equal pay?

by L

Equal pay – what are Totebaggers’ thoughts?

The truth about the gender wage gap

Illegal in Massachusetts: Asking Your Salary in a Job Interview

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85 thoughts on “Equal pay?

  1. I’m not sure if encouraging more flexibility in the workplace would make that much of a difference. Some jobs *can* be made more flexible, but in many cases it’s still the case that the worker who doesn’t need flexibility will be more valuable to the employer.

    This is another perspective on the issue, about how professions become female dominated.

    The bureaucratization of a profession — with limited autonomy but greater security and reduced and more flexible hours, plus the ease of taking time off and moving between positions allowed by certification requirements and uncompetitive salaries — encourages female dominance. Highly-competitive, high-paying, performance-oriented occupations remained more difficult both to enter and succeed in, so the path of least resistance for a woman wanting a family-friendly career remained entry to one of the regulated fields where cooperative skills and consensus were more important than measurable productivity, and the pay reflected that.
    https://jebkinnison.com/2016/08/15/death-by-hr-pink-collar-ghettos-publishing-and-hr/

    (For some reason that Vox article was painful to read. Somehow it showed up very large with too many graphics for my taste.)

  2. I am not sure that the reason scientists have less of a wage gap has anything to do with hours. Most scientists work in academia which is often unionized and traditionally is averse to huge pay gaps. The ones not in academia are at national labs or in corporate R&D which tends to treat them like engineers. Science can often involve very long inflexible hours – ask any astrophysicist who has to book time on a radio telescope array, or biologist who has to do research trips to Borneo

  3. ask any astrophysicist who has to book time on a radio telescope array,

    Wouldn’t that be a few days a year with the rest of the time spent processing and interpreting a large volume of data?

  4. “Science can often involve very long inflexible hours – ask any astrophysicist who has to book time on a radio telescope array, or biologist who has to do research trips to Borneo”

    Very true – but these are planned. Very rarely do you have to go to Borneo tomorrow, or you don’t know your telescope schedule. So, even with inflexible long hours, you can plan your life around them and have care arranged.

    I’m around research oceanographers who spend 1-6 months at sea. A lot of them have families. Since planning these cruises can take years, they know what they need and when they need it to be successful. I’m also part of the Earth Science Women’s Network and lots of email discussions and articles are shared about taking family on research trips, if its feasible and safe. Many women struggle with work-life balance, but it’s always the day-to-day stuff, not the research trips that stump people.

    My end of science (not research, not academic) tends to have more “oh can you meet at 6pm tonight?” style meetings. DH has many times where he’s late for the same reason (his boss is the absent minded professor), or his critters (animal, bacterial, and student) need him. We make it work.

  5. “Wouldn’t that be a few days a year with the rest of the time spent processing and interpreting a large volume of data?”

    Might depend on the project and what you’re looking for

  6. I think she’s onto something, but with Rhett’s tweak. It’s not just the inflexibility of the “certain hours” — there’s nothing magical about the hours between 9 AM and 5 PM. It’s that the “certain hours” includes an expected total over the year that is well above the older 9-5 expectation.

    We have a variety of flexible schedules — everything from alternative set schedules (e.g., 7-3) to general targets (e.g. 80% over the course of the year), to full-time telecommuting at whatever hours. But when you need to bill 2000+ hours a year, 7-3 isn’t going to cut it. And, of course, the real issue is that it isn’t just big bad partners being unreasonable — the client may not care that you need to leave at 3 (or even if they care in theory, they don’t when they have a crisis at 2:45). So the people who can be flexible based on the *client’s* schedule (not their own) are the ones who are going to build the business and earn the money. And, ironically, the more people who are out there screaming for balance, the more valuable those single-minded people become, because it’s just so. much. easier. for others.

    I think her idea is dead on, but I also think it’s only “fixable” to the extent (a) the work is fairly fungible/can be job-shared, (e.g. the pharmacist example), or (b) the “clients” of any particular business actually care about flexibility not only for their own people, but for the people they employ. I do have several clients who I can be extremely open with about scheduling calls and the like, and they are equally open about their constraints. Those kind of people make it much easier to manage work and non-work.

    And of course this also goes to what we were discussing the other day: my desire for flexibility to manage my life means inflexibility for others. One way I manage my schedule is to set up as many doctors/orthodontists/dentists/eye doctors/etc. as possible outside of my normal business hours. But if I want to visit the eye doctor at 8 PM, that means at least three people receptionist, tech, doc) are at work then instead of home with their families.

  7. In my workplaces the women and men who are capable and can to be available to work non standard hours have had similar success. Many of the senior successful women are those who are single or are the main earner in their families and have a spouse who handles home responsibilities to work and travel.
    There used to be a lot more pretense about these unspoken requirements but now senior women talk candidly. Less talk about work life balance or lean in or any other in buzzword.

  8. I would add that any high paying job pays well because someone is willing to do something that most people can’t or won’t do. Many people can’t or won’t work long hours so jobs that require long hours tend to pay well. Other jobs are very stressful and since most people can’t or won’t be able to cope in that environment they also do well. The intense the job the more the greater the cognitive and emotional load and the less bandwidth available for personal matters.

    Managing people is also something that people can’t or won’t do. If you spend your day listening to your staff’s drama and petty bickering you’re not going to have a lot of bandwidth do deal with your kids petty bickering when you get home. That being the case, you’ll need someone to carry that burden for you.

  9. The intense the job the more the greater the cognitive and emotional load and the less bandwidth available for personal matters.

    That should read:

    The more intense the job the greater the cognitive and emotional load and the less bandwidth available for personal matters.

  10. I would add that any high paying job pays well because someone is willing to do something that most people can’t or won’t do.

    This, a hundred times over. Was just having this conversation with my kids. If you can do work that (1) people need done and (2) most folks put in the ‘too hard’ pile (too hard because of the hours, or the complexity, or the attention to detail…whatever), and (3) it is genuinely interesting/engaging to you, then you’ve identified your niche and chances are it will pay well. I was telling them – keep your eyes open as you go along, and you’ll find something that meets that criteria.

  11. I concur with the previous comments. I prefer Goldin’s paper to the Vox summary.
    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/goldin/files/goldin_aeapress_2014_1.pdf

    How many people care about equal pay? I joke that Mr WCE earns the money and I spend it. Research that focuses on individuals outside of family units will always miss part of what shapes most people’s choices. Eldercare is continuing to grow as an issue and that is somewhat more egalitarian. Our tool install was delayed when the field service engineer’s mother had health issues and I did work that would normally be done by my tech today. His mother recently had a stroke and he is probably out for something related to that.

    Mr WCE’s cousins have the prestigious MBA’s and well-paid jobs but the one with kids rarely sees his kids, as far as I can tell. I think my company is very fair to women, but my female division manager is, as far as I know, single and childless, which is part of why she was able to travel the world gathering the experience to rise in the organization.

    In many ways, I think breadwinner moms are better parents than breadwinner dads. The breadwinner moms I work with are more likely to focus on their kids than their hobbies and they think more about the fact that their spouses would like a break sometimes than the breadwinner dads do. (yeah, I know it’s a massive generalization). Here on the blog, successful professional women LfB and ATM come to mind as examples of people who would probably do less on the homefront if they were male.

  12. Eldercare is continuing to grow as an issue and that is somewhat more egalitarian.

    just an observation, but it still seems that women take on more elder care, but that is just based on my small sample size

  13. WCE, I care about the equal pay issue. I care because equal pay for equal work sounds right to me.

    But I also end up caring to hear fewer politicians and social activists griping that women make 70-75-80% of what men make because of what the shared article points out…the way our society is usually structured, and our domestic relationships, women often end up being the ones ‘parent (read: mommy) tracked.’

    I always want the barest facts. I know at the fortune 30 company I started with out of grad school everyone made about the same. Some had more and even in some cases relevant industry experience, both pluses; some went to fancier MBA schools, another plus; some might have negotiated a bit better. But all in all male or female we all made about the same. BigLaw seems to say that first years all make the same salary.

    So that’s why I get steamed when I hear this issue painted with the broadest of strokes. When the specifics are known, there’s usually a good reason why someone is making more than their peers in a given job band (I know there’s discrimination, but I really believe that’s the exception. Maybe the world really is different than my rose colored glasses lead me to believe.)

  14. “I would add that any high paying job pays well because someone is willing to do something that most people can’t or won’t do. ”

    Bingo. Also agree with Lark.

    Who cares about equal pay?

    I do! Do I believe that women really, on average, earn 79 cents on the dollar for the same job? No. But I have worked in a sexist environment where the pay & opportunities were most definitely unfair towards women & minorities for the same job/effort/performance. And that is not okay with me. Company culture exacerbates the problem where it exists, I think.

  15. But if I want to visit the eye doctor at 8 PM, that means at least three people receptionist, tech, doc) are at work then instead of home with their families.

    This goes back to the discussion the other day of why services are not offered outside of normal business hours. People generally prefer not to work off hours because they want to be home with their families.

    just an observation, but it still seems that women take on more elder care, but that is just based on my small sample size

    Working in geriatrics, this has definitely been my experience as well.

  16. Who cares about equal pay?

    Men should. It’s their wives and daughters that are getting ripped off. My paycheck matters as much to our family as that of DH.

  17. My field is international. I think minorities have a fair shot, and we don’t require lawyer-level proficiency in English, which makes it easier for immigrants to succeed.

    I remember a class where a professor was explaining a concept using the example of a teeter-totter, and she was getting blank looks (class is 80% international) so she stopped to draw a picture and asked if they had played on them as children. It turns out that in the rest of the English-speaking world, it is a “see-saw” and she used the term “see-saw” thereafter.

  18. Houston, when you say, “Who cares about equal pay?

    Men should. It’s their wives and daughters that are getting ripped off. My paycheck matters as much to our family as that of DH.”

    Why do you think unequal pay is evidence that wives/daughters are getting ripped off?

  19. “Eldercare is continuing to grow as an issue and that is somewhat more egalitarian.”

    It is, somewhat, but IME men still aren’t taking as much responsibility as their sisters or wives for the eldercare needs in their families. That may change as there are fewer families with multiple siblings to share the duties, but I see mostly women helping seniors at doctor or grocery store visits.

  20. WCE: There are 2 forms of unequal pay. One is unequal pay for equal work, which is bad. This is what I was referring to in my post, and this still exists. There’s also unequal pay for unequal work, which is what people are mainly talking about on this post.

  21. “it is a “see-saw” and she used the term “see-saw” thereafter.”

    Totally regional too – i called it a see-saw. I learned teeter-totter as a teen/adult.

    I think LfB, Rhett, and Lark got it right.

    I do care about equal pay. On my first job, I found out I made $4k less starting out than our male tech. He had the same experience I did. I vowed then to learn how to negotiate and negotiate hard. If I could use skills to narrow the gap I would help everyone (at least people who broad stroke things…).

  22. @Houston +1. Yes. Men should.

    “Why do you think unequal pay is evidence that wives/daughters are getting ripped off?”

    That’s the definition. If a woman is doing the same job as the man sitting next to her, with similar output/productivity/competence/experience/education, but the man gets paid more. How is that not the woman (and therefore her family) getting ripped off? Don’t site stats about how the measures cited in the media are flawed. What about the situation of actual unequal pay?

    I also do not see at all that eldercare is more gender-balanced. Seems to be the same split as childcare to me. Maybe even more weighted towards women.

  23. Houston, thanks. Now I get it. Another aspect I like about Goldin (economist referred to in the article) is her emphasis on the “unintended consequences” of legal/government/policy solutions.

  24. This article hits home emotionally, because the new contract engineer will likely get offered a position because he’s willing to work full-time and his wife will move here (he currently has an unsustainable commute) even though my peers recognize that I’m more productive/currently capable per hour worked. He will be the first person hired in a decade or so, and I’m happy for him and his family, but it’s evidence that (IMHO) my company overvalues full-time work. (I have a longstanding argument that companies that measure employment based on headcount rather than full-time-equivalents make it hard for people with signficant caregiving responsibilities to be employed.)

  25. “People generally prefer not to work off hours because they want to be home with their families.”

    And, speaking for myself although I’m certainly not alone, I really do not want to run many errands, go to the doctor/dentist, etc. in the evening. I want my schedule to run the way it’s set up: leave work, go to the gym, drive home*, have dinner (since I rarely cook dinner during the week, I am the very willing cleanup guy), try to deal with household stuff, then shut down. The household stuff gets deferred frequently. There ya have it. I’d rather be able to get early** (7am) appointments, but I understand that can create the same/similar staffing problems as the 8pm appts.

    *no issues with e.g. stopping at the ATM (same plaza as my gym) or the grocery store (drive right by it) if that’s what’s needed.

    ** the orthopedic group I go to starts seeing people as early as 630am, but thankfully I don’t need their services very often.

  26. I made a conscious decision to spend time with my kids and my paycheck has suffered accordingly. I want balance for the next 5 years until younger DS graduated from high school. I want to be home, even though technically my kids don’t really need my help as much. I like them and want to spend time with them while they are still at home. After they leave for college, I’m happy to work and travel all the time. I follow the trend from the article where the wage gap narrows for 50 year olds.

  27. The prior salary article struck a chord with me because that came up all the time in my early career. At that time I was new to the country and the workforce – without any internet there was no way of knowing whether I had started out and was continuing at a disadvantage. After a certain point I went through recruiters, they had an incentive to maximize my salary and push for what the market was willing to pay.

  28. Today’s babies will not need to know the correct terminology for this playground device, because they will never see one.
    Just like they will not know what a “high dive” is unless it is an Olympics year.

  29. Speaking of banned playground equipment, my husband and I have exactly opposite opinions on the difference between merry-go-round and carousel. I think of the carnival ride as a merry-go-round (unless you’re reading a British book) and the playground device for demonstrating centrifugal motion on your friends as a carousel, and he thinks it’s the other way around.

  30. WCE – I found that part very interesting…. what about guaranteed maternity leave. Other countries give substantial leave. Do they have these discussions on unequal pay? Because, yes, if you are granted a year of leave, your pay may not change in that year of leave, meaning that your next raise will appear less because the base is less:

    Prior to leave, mat leave lady and man make X.
    During leave, mat leave lady remains at X, but man makes 1.2X
    After leave, everyone gets 20% raise, so mat leave lady now makes 1.2X, but man makes 1.2*(1.2X).

    Therefore, if they have everything else equal, man now makes much more than mat leave lady. Man could be replaced by child-free lady for even better equality.

  31. I suspect the most successful businesspeople do not allow themselves to be derailed by caregiving obligations. Whether this is a good thing or not is left as an exercise for the reader.

  32. HM – carnival ride is either carousel or merry-go-round, then playground thing is called the “spinning thing” or “the spinny thing that makes me sick”

    Fred – those 7a appointments are the same as the 7p appointments. Some folks are needed/want to be at home at that hour. Me? I think it’s an ungodly hour that should not exist.

  33. ATM, HM – I use both terms for the one with the horses going up and down. The playground ride is a carousel.

  34. What do you call the carnival ride with the swings that spin around? I’ve heard that called a merry go round as well but I don’t think I have a particular word for that ride.

  35. I don’t have a particular word for that one either.

    BTW, riding on this one at twilight was amazing. It is kind of scary flying out over the side of the cliff during the day time, but in the twilight it was like flying in a dream. (Thanks again for the recommendation, DD!)

  36. I usually glaze over when I see “equal pay” articles.

    What irritates me is when apples to oranges comparisons (Fred’s “there’s usually a good reason why someone is making more than their peers in a given job band”) are used to deny that sexist behavior (as Ivy pointed out: “But I have worked in a sexist environment where the pay & opportunities were most definitely unfair towards women & minorities for the same job/effort/performance.”) still exists.

    It also goes back to our discussions on how innumerate people are, especially in statistics.

  37. I suppose my frustration, as sort of a non-feminist, is the presumption that pay should be equal and any deviation from that is due exclusively to sexist behavior.

    I believe that sexist behavior exists, just as I believe racist behavior exists. The challenge (which people like Goldin take on) is figuring out how much of the pay discrepancy is due to sexist behavior, and defining exactly what “sexist behavior” is.

    Famous quote from an electrical engineer PhD girlfriend: “The EE department is not sexist because it’s not nurturing and supportive of women. They aren’t nurturing and supportive of anyone.”

  38. I don’t often see people denying that sexist behavior exists, but I do see wide disagreement over how much of the wage gap is due to that and how much is due to other reasons as have been described. I suspect our views on that are partly shaped by our own experiences. How much of the gap do you think is due to unfair sexism? 90%? 10%? Something in between?

    Rhode, not sure how you mean this. Would you propose replacing the man to achieve better equality?

    “Man could be replaced by child-free lady for even better equality.”

  39. I do think there is still pay discrimination (i.e. men being paid more than woman for doing the same job). A recent example that comes to mind is the analysis that found that that Wall Street Journal paid male reporters than female reporters with the same level of experience. Quote “Male staffers with up to five years of experience, for example, earn an average of 13.5 percent more than female staffers at the same level — and even slightly more than the category of women who’ve been on the job for twice as long.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/10/pay-doesnt-look-the-same-for-men-and-women-at-top-newspapers/?tid=a_inl

    I also think women are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when it comes to negotiating salaries. If women don’t ask for an increase then it’s their fault they don’t negotiate the way men do. If women do ask for an increase, then they are seen as overly aggressive and pushy.

  40. ““The EE department is not sexist because it’s not nurturing and supportive of women. They aren’t nurturing and supportive of anyone.””

    We called that “equal opportunity torture”

  41. See, I don’t take the WSJ reporters story as clear evidence of discrimination. (I haven’t read the whole story.) How do I know they’re doing the “same job”. I’ve been in too many work situations where female employees requested and got more flexibility than males of similar tenure.

    I agree with this:
    “I suppose my frustration, as sort of a non-feminist, is the presumption that pay should be equal and any deviation from that is due exclusively to sexist behavior.”

  42. ““Man could be replaced by child-free lady for even better equality.””
    Meaning that a childfree woman working that same year has the opportunity for the raise during the leave year that the lady on leave does not and the company-wide raise.

    basically if you want to ignore sex, you can focus on one woman who took the leave opportunity vs. one woman who did not. In theory those ladies are more “equal” than a man and woman because of sexism.

  43. WCE – do you believe that Baby WCE should be paid the same as an entry-level widget engineer as her older brother(s), if they came out of the same school with the same GPA and started at the widget engineering company at the same time? If so, you are a feminist.

    ATM – I agree with you that equal pay for unequal work is often used to disguise the issue.

    HM – I agree with your husband, the carnival ride is a carousel and the playground ride is a merry-go-round. The other one we call the “big swings”. I also say see-saw and didn’t hear teeter-totter until I was a grownup.

  44. ” I’ve been in too many work situations where female employees requested and got more flexibility than males of similar tenure.”

    I’ve also been in work situations where all female workers, especially of childbearing age, were penalized even before any maternity leave or flexibility was requested. So child-free women or women willing to “put in extra” even though they were mothers were paid less as well. That’s sexism. Especially sitting in meetings where that is hinted at or even explicitly stated. It’s hard to prove though – even having access to payroll data, it is hard to make a legal case or a statistical case that women were being “ripped off” based solely on gender because there are so many factors that go into pay and opportunity. But it definitely exists. I don’t know how widespread it is – I’ve worked at 4 companies, and only one where I felt that there was truly unequal pay split on gender lines. And that’s just my anecdata anyway.

    I will also say, in my experience, there are men who have/take advantage of just as much flexibility, but aren’t penalized for it depending on the culture. If a woman leaves early, it confirms their expectations that women just can’t prioritize work. If a man leaves early, maybe no one noticed or cares or thinks he is doing something really important. Which kind of gets back to this article.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/upshot/how-some-men-fake-an-80-hour-workweek-and-why-it-matters.html

    I think it’s next to impossible for researchers to statistically prove out how much of the wage gap is truly unequal pay for equal work. It’s too subjective.

    But I don’t like it immediately being dismissed or brushed off either. It happens. We can argue about how much it happens, but it definitely happens.

  45. PTM, the story you wrote on yesterday’s thread was the third best thing you posted here. Won’t tell you which were better. It made me cry.

  46. This discussion reminds me of WCE writing of how the same people who want to use zoning laws to preserve open space also complain about the lack of affordable housing.

    I find it refreshing that there is such a broad understanding here of both sides of the coin. And that “equal work for equal pay” is a bit of a red herring.

  47. Ivy, Mr WCE disproportionately takes sick kid duty because when he does it, he’s “being a good dad” but if I do it, I’m “less dedicated.”

  48. Illegal in Massachusetts: Asking Your Salary in a Job Interview

    on this article, I think this will potentially help men and women not get stuck in low paying jobs if they start out in one

  49. L, at my company, male/female raises had to pass a t-test at a high (say, 100+ engineers) level. One year, proposed raises failed the test, and they had to go back and redo raises for everyone. That’s part of why I think my industry is pretty fair in terms of male/female salaries. The question (as alluded to in the Goldin article) is the selection process that results in the industry being ~10% female.

  50. I grew up playing on see saws and a merry go round in the local park, until my friend was unable to apply sufficient centripetal force to maintain his position on the merry go round, after which I stopped playing on merry go rounds.

  51. WCE, I’m curious why you decided to become an engineer. Is it at least partially consistent with my expressed observations that female engineers typically end up as engineers because they excel at math and science, rather than because they really want to be engineers?

    You at least fit the pattern in terms of excelling in math and science.

  52. WCE Did Goldin define “sexist behavior”. I agree that is quite a challenge.

    I remember a very long time ago I was out working in the oilfield and a fellow geologist asked me if the pornography at the worksite bothered me. I didn’t know what she was talking about, and after further conversation it turns out she was referring to the girlie calendar pinned up on the wall. Different people view things in different ways, but most would probably consider that to be sexist behavior.

  53. Finn, I rebelled against my mother’s expectation that I obtain a liberal arts degree from a religious college and become a SAHM. I wanted to avoid student debt and there were lots of chemical plants in my river town. Chemical engineers seemed to have more interesting work than lawyers (divorces, DUI’s, drugs) and better schedules than physicians in rural Iowa.

    This blog has educated me (and continues to educate me) that there are many occupations that I didn’t know about growing up, and that people in rural Iowa aren’t employed in them. I saw on my county/school website that 1x% of jobs in the county require a 4 year degree.

    I also chose engineering because I thought it would be interesting if I wound up single, which seemed pretty likely when I was getting out of high school. The professional women I knew were mostly single, including many/most female engineering professors.

  54. Maternity leave – in my observations taking time off for many women resulted in getting “reassigned” to undesirable roles while on leave. When they came back they were essentially demoted. This happened even to star performers and I would say, more so because when their groups did badly in their absence, it was as if they were getting blamed for taking leave.

  55. I suppose my frustration, as sort of a non-feminist, is the presumption that pay should be equal

    Why shouldn’t that be the presumption? Everything else other than gender being equal, why shouldn’t the pay be equal?

  56. Denver Dad, I think rarely is everything other than gender equal.

    I haven’t seen data that it is gender, rather than caregiving obligations, that causes the pay gap.

    The data I’ve seen suggests that caregivers, male or female, receive lower wages. The small pay gap between childless women and childless men supports that theory.

  57. And maybe my perception is partly because I know so many women who are happily childless. “When God made me, he left the Mommy chip out.”

    They seem to receive at least equal pay and do at least equal work. And some of them are darn nice to those of us with children on top of it. (My favorite baby gift for DS1 was from such an acquaintance.)

  58. “I find it refreshing that there is such a broad understanding here of both sides of the coin. ”

    I agree. Interesting discussion.

  59. Getting in very late in the conversation today, but I have observed several things during my tenure in the workforce:
    1. I was often paid the same as my male counter parts, but often had to do more or higher quality work or have more face time in the office than they did to be paid the same. So, not really equal pay for equal work, though it sort of appears that way.
    2. Women often are under more pressure to prove themselves in the office – with or without children and/or elder care issues – than men are.
    3. Some offices still run on the good ol’ boy network that is almost impossible for women to break into as we aren’t invited to some of the events or activities where this takes place.

    Things I learned:
    1. Learn the rules (written and unwritten) of your work place well enough to use them to your advantage.
    2. S@*! rolls down hill, make sure your plate is full enough so that the S@*! just keeps rolling past you. This may mean volunteering to take on more work prior to the S@*! getting to your vicinity.
    3. Make your bosses life easier – anticipate what is needed/wanted in advance if possible and the format that it needs to be communicated in.
    4. Never bring a problem without at least one solution to the boss.
    5. Don’t talk about how much work you have or that you are stressed about it. Leave it at the “I can’t really talk/go to lunch today, I have a deadline.” All that talk about too much work or too busy or too stressed makes you look less competent.
    6. Never be the problem-causing employee.
    7. And, don’t use apology words when you aren’t apologizing.
    8. Don’t feel shy about telling others your accomplishments. “This project came in on time and on budget.”

    Incorporating those 8 things made in my work life better and narrowed the wage gap with my male counterparts. There was still some, mainly I think due to having kids.

  60. “Everything else other than gender being equal, why shouldn’t the pay be equal?”

    Right, but as we’ve been discussing, everything else isn’t equal, and that’s also why I mentioned “equal pay for equal work” being a red herring.

    In many jobs, we aren’t just paid for the work we do; we’re also paid for when we do it, how quickly we get it done, and also for being reliable about getting it done in a timely, professional manner. E.g., the person who responds to customers’ urgent requirements late on Friday afternoons with solutions by the same Friday evenings will often (should?)get paid more than the person who provides the same solutions by the end of the following Mondays, even if they do the same work.

  61. What Finn said about “being equal”.

    “Some offices still run on the good ol’ boy network that is almost impossible for women to break into as we aren’t invited to some of the events or activities where this takes place.”

    I’ve definitely seen this. I may have been invited to play golf, but I was excluded from the card games that took place in the locker room afterwards where the real networking took place. But what can or should be done about this? I don’t want this legislated. OTOH, I’ve seen women use their feminine charms to boost their careers. At one time I bristled at that, but now I am more open to using to using whatever gifts God gave you. :)

  62. WCE, interesting that you weren’t pushed in the direction of engineering because of your academic abilities in math and science. You don’t fall into either of the two very broad categories I’ve seen that capture most engineers I know, although your approach to determining your career path, in itself, suggests that engineering made sense for you.

    I asked the question to tangentially address the question you mentioned about the selection process that results in ~10% females in engineering. My generalizations based on my experience suggest that for whatever reason, it’s unusual for girls to want to be engineers.

    Looking back to my HS years, I took a mechanical drawing class that was almost completely filled with kids who were planning to major in either engineering or architecture. There were only two girls in the class– one who was a very free spirit who was probably the only one in the class who wasn’t seriously considering either major, and one whose dad was a LPE who ran his own consulting firm.

    I guess there’s another category of female engineers I know– those who were the daughters of engineers. Right off hand, I can think of several who fall into that category, although I think most of them also fell into the category of being nudged in that direction, e.g., by counselors, because of excellence in math and science.

  63. “Some offices still run on the good ol’ boy network that is almost impossible for women to break into as we aren’t invited to some of the events or activities where this takes place.”

    It isn’t just women who get excluded from that network. Remember past discussions about lacrosse-playing white men in finance?

  64. “OTOH, I’ve seen women use their feminine charms to boost their careers. At one time I bristled at that, but now I am more open to using to using whatever gifts God gave you. :)”

    Is that any different than white men using athletic skills developed for lacrosse to get ahead in finance?

  65. From the NYT article:

    “the issue of men historically outearning women who do the same job ”

    My first employer out of college went to great effort to try to be fair to all its engineers in determining salaries. One of the things that was made quite clear is that no two engineers did the same job, and the major part of salary administration was determining who did what, and paying those who created more value for the employer more than those who created less.

    One aspect of that which I really liked was that we could choose how hard we wanted to work and how much we would accommodate work needs in the framework of our overall lives, and, to a certain extent, be paid based on that. So some women with young kids didn’t work as much or as hard, and got paid less, but later they could switch lanes and work more, travel more, etc., and get paid more.

    Interestingly, some of those who benefited from that the most were a bunch of crotchety old male engineers, the ones who were extremely set in their ways, e.g., “I work from 7 to 3:30 every day, so don’t schedule any meetings that require me to be there outside of those hours.” They typically had fully paid off houses they’d bought when real estate was cheap, had already put their kids through college, and had enough money that they weren’t really motivated by moving up within our salary ranges.

  66. Austin, some GREAT advice. I’ve heard some of it before from senior women in finance, but already sent your summary to a few people.

  67. Denver Dad, I think rarely is everything other than gender equal.

    Of course not, but you didn’t answer the question. If everything is equal, then why shouldn’t there be a presumption of equal pay?

  68. Finn and Evil Twin – This is exactly why people need mentors and SPONSORS. IMO, sponsors – those who advocate for you to get an assignment, job you applied for, etc.- are more important. Your mentor is giving you advice (normally), but a sponsor is the one who is on the inside who says Finn would be good for that before the other “boys” get the chance to say WCE always does that, let her do it.

    Maybe it goes across genders, but I think women are not as good at seeking our mentors and in general, do not cultivate sponsors. You cultivate them by making sure the people who make decisions are aware of your abilities and accomplishments…back up to my Things Learned #8. The better I got at that, the more my name came up and the better assignments I got, which broadened/improved my skills, which resulted in more pay.

  69. Finn, I work with your crotchety engineer contingent. Given that the range of possible raises for the last decade was ~0-5%, with a mean of ~1.8%, none of them (already high on the payband) have been too motivated to kill themselves to be perceived as high performers. Two of them cheerfully shifted a meeting by an hour for next week to accommodate my babysitter schedule.

    In organizations where you need a sponsor to rise, what is the “span of control” or ratio of upper level to lower level people? Where I work, a manager typically has a dozen reports, and there are one or two senior engineers among them. A third level manager, then, has at least a hundred reports. Obviously, most people won’t reach that level and those who do are smart, organized and driven. Other than entry level hires, everyone else is “engineer”.

  70. To tie into what Austin Mom wrote ask for interesting projects that will benefit your career. Also, like WCE mentioned, over time flexibility becomes an art, you just do what you have to do, while maintaining good work performance.

  71. “Maybe it goes across genders, but I think women are not as good at seeking our mentors and in general, do not cultivate sponsors.”

    This was definitely an issue back in the day in biglaw, and probably continues as most partners are still men. It is difficult We had a problem at our firm with a partner who was accused of sexually harassing a female staffer (who was married to another partner so really stupid), and was forced out of the firm. This particular partners was actually very good about working with female associates, but the fallout from the incident definitely left other attorneys very wary around women.

  72. The crazy family lives near one of my MD friends, and she is infamous at the elementary school for her complaints on issues such as that the school computer system used for homework assignments isn’t sufficiently secure.
    But apparently they are ok with their photos on the Post website.

  73. I wonder why the family in Rhett’s link doesn’t just go off grid. The technology and necessary hardware are readily available, as are tax credits to help pay for it.

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