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Equal Pay For Equal Work

There’s a lot of talk about equal rights these days and one of the topics of the “equal rights” discussion is equal pay for women who do the same job as their male counterpart. But what exactly are those who are protesting expect? The implication is that there is some kind of scale somewhere that dictates what certain jobs pay and we should all expect to get compensated at the same rate for doing the same job. That’s actually not the way it works. Unless we are talking about minimum wages, there is no set wage for performing specific tasks in the average workplace. There might be a predetermined value for that task, but even that value is subject to certain conditions. There are several important considerations when determining pay: the difficulty of the job and the degree of responsibility that goes with the job, as well as how the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of the performance of the employee will impact the company; and the qualifications of the applicant. Every applicant should receive “equal” opportunity to get the job, but what they will be compensated will be based on the parameters that I have mentioned above. Let me offer an example. I have hired many workers. I had as many females working for the company as males. Several of these employees were producers. Every producer had the same responsibilities. However, they were not all paid the same. Some were more qualified than others. As those who were less qualified became more proficient, their salaries increased. Some of the less qualified who out performed the other, more qualified employees, eventually made a higher salary than the more qualified. This applied to women as well as men. I once hired a young lady who was working in a donut store because I thought she had potential. She began as a receptionist. She was paid very little at first. However, as she was able to demonstrate her abilities she very quickly rose from receptionist to assistant producer to producer and eventually to practically running the company.

There is no such thing as equality when it comes to qualifications. No two individuals have the same amount of experience, type of experience, the same cooperative spirit or attitude, perform at the same level, possess the same intellectual capacity, or adhere to the same work ethic. All of these considerations are determinants when selecting an employee and establishing the value of an applicant to perform a particular function. So there cannot be equal pay for equal work because there is no such thing as equality in regard to applicants.

It is not equality but rather fairness that is the issue. When fairness is the main determinant, individuals are compensated on the basis of their qualifications: experience and education, and their performance. This is applicable from to the most menial task to the highest level of management. Some people simply out perform others and those who are the most productive deserve to be compensated at a higher rate because of the level of their productivity.

One caveat is in the area of sports. Women’s sports teams should qualify to make the same salaries as men who play on similar sports teams if their games generate the same amount of revenue as the men’s games. Again, productivity is the key determinant.

In conclusion, it is fairness, not equality that is the issue. Disregarding the determining factors as listed above and forcing equality for the sake of equality will ultimately result in a lower level of productivity and quality, and create futility in the workplace by demonstrating that those who are underachievers are worth as much as those who excel. However, we will probably witness more of this type of workplace mentality as we move inevitably closer to socialism in America.




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