Pay gap survey prompts angry response

Women students are demanding government action after a new survey showed men with the same tertiary qualifications start earning more after just one year.

Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong said the survey showed a wage gap opened quickly between graduates with bachelor degrees -- up to an average 6 percent after the first year and up to 20 percent in some professions after five years.

Ms Wong's ministry carried out the survey, using Inland Revenue data to track the graduates' income.

"The bottom line is that a bachelor's degree held by a woman should be worth the same in the marketplace as one held by a man," she said yesterday.

Sophie Blair, national women's rights officer at the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, said the situation was a breach of basic human rights.

"It is absolutely outrageous that our female graduates, who do the same degrees as their male counterparts, get paid less right from the start," she said.

"For a long time many have pointed to the high participation of women in tertiary study as evidence of equality between men and women, yet this research shows that in reality there is still a high level of inequity in New Zealand society."

Ms Blair said the Government needed to set out "a real plan of action" to address the pay gap.

Ms Wong said there would be a new 10-year study of up to 6000 graduates to get "new insights" into the situation.

Ms Blair said all that would do was produce evidence of what was already known.

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16 Comments & Questions

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Everyone happy then that a Government Minister has access to your IRD records?

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Surely the bachelor's degree has no fiscal worth of its own - it is the job that a degree holder obtains that has the worth. Do male and female degree holders get the same jobs, but the female is paid less? Or is it that the females get jobs that pay less? - which is a different problem.

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NZ, as a developed nation, should rectify this breach of basic human rights. This would set a good example for not only developing nations, but other developed nations as well.

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What individual pay rates apply after one year and certainly after 5 years are going to depend not only on which degree and in what industry, but also very significantly on individual performance. Work is actually quite different to study. The fact that two people have the same degree does not mean that they will perform equally in the workforce over time.

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To those (men) above who ask the question whether it is that women are moving into lower paying jobs with the same bachelor degree compared to their male counterparts or make the point performance may be an overriding factor all I can say is that as a female employee I found out in my previous employment (with great difficulty as colleague pay information is not shared) that I was being paid less than my male counterpart, despite the fact that I had held our similar position longer, became a fully qualified accountant before him, was just as productive, possibly earnt the firm more money and showed more loyalty in the long run. The only factor I could put our pay disparity down to was the old boys club. I have no intention of opting out of the employment market to have children and would like to know something will be done to change this attitude to ensure I will receive equitable pay for my comparative efforts not as is suggested that the gap will only increase with time.

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The first comment above highlights the truly stunning issue here. A government minister apparently has carte blanche powers to trawl through IRD databases that are filled with very private, sensitive information.

Appalling, and a complete abuse of privacy. But part of the course of giving government and IRD such huge, unmandated, 'abusive' power over individuals. I'd like a follow up please.

[Note, I know for a fact that if an IRD staff member were to do this exact thing of their own volition, they would be fired, as would be right and proper. You cannot just 'go have a nose' out of curiosity.]

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Nothing new here. Men earn more than women. Taller, slimmer, better looking people are more likely to get promoted orearn more than shorter, fatter, etc, people. Unless you are a white male you have something to complain about. Try imposing some form of affirmative action and it will create other inequalities.

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A governmant minister can do anything. All one has to do is keep doing it.

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As long as we accept an environment of secrecy this situation will prevail. Who earns what should be shared knowledge. Of course, employers have no interest in making this the case. The first step to resolving the issue is to get openness of pay scales within every employer.

Also, it must be said, that if we accept offers at a lower level then that is how much we will be paid.

I would expect that the research was done with appropriate safeguards for privacy.

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Anonymous at 10:48 lists her virtues but obviously isn't as good at negotiating a rise as the male, or maybe seen as less likely to change to another employer. Maybe she needs to try a more effective strategy.

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Quoting Paula above: "As long as we accept an environment of secrecy this situation will prevail. Who earns what should be shared knowledge. "

My response. You stupid woman!

What I earn is private information, none of your business. With no privacy, there is no freedom, there is no free society. The movement toward a free society is a movement toward privacy: just such a shame the bulk of western civilisation is hurtling in entirely the opposite direction, you at the helm.

The old USSR, North Korea, et al, are the type of Gulags for you to peddle this nonsense.

Okay, ranting now.

Is this what the State education system is brain washing people to now?

Tell you what Paula, the bloke next door has a far nicer house than me, that's hardly fair, we both seem to work about the same hours. Why not go the whole communist route and just get rid of private property?

... No! Please, don't answer that.

Tell you what though, if I thought your thinking was typical of 'women' I wouldn't hire them. Thankfully, I'm enlightened, and thus realise this sort of sentiment probably only exists in the rarefied environments of the Women Studies departments in our universities.

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The observed phenomenon ie lower pay after a year suggests a number of hypotheses. Every seems to have leapt to the hypothesis that women get paid less, when they are other alternatives (and without indicating respective merit), women are better at managing their tax affairs to reduce their assessable income, there are other factors influencing remuneration such as lower rem jobs with better work/life balance, better job security vs higher returns, non-assessable benefits such as further study with some roles.

All the study results suggest is that there is an observable difference between remuneration - not what the reason is. Anything else is purely anecdotal or a misrepresentation of the what the study purports to indicate.

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Pay gap survey prompts angry response | The National Business Review - New Zealand - business, markets, finance, politics, property, technology and more adam@comemail.net

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Pay gap survey prompts angry response | The National Business Review - New Zealand - business, markets, finance, politics, property, technology and more adley@gigemail.net

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Pay gap survey prompts angry response | The National Business Review - New Zealand - business, markets, finance, politics, property, technology and more adam@comemail.net

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Pay gap survey prompts angry response | The National Business Review - New Zealand - business, markets, finance, politics, property, technology and more abner@comemail.net

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