The recent BBC Annual Report disclosed a big gender pay gap between men and women. This made me think why men might reasonably be paid more than women.
Here are five times when men should be paid more than women for doing the same job:
1. They are better at their jobs.
If a man and woman do the same job, but the man does that job better than the woman then he should be paid more. The measurable for the job should be clearly defined and if a man performs better in those areas then he should be remunerated more highly. At the end of the day, we all perform certain tasks for money, and it follows that the better those tasks we perform the more money we should receive.
2. They don’t take career breaks.
If a man and a woman do the same job, and then the woman takes a career break, it’s reasonable to assume the man will continue in his current career trajectory while the woman remains at her previous level. It just so happens that it’s more likely women take career breaks to have children on maternity leave, and therefore when they come back into the workforce they do so at a position further behind than their male counterparts.
3. They generate more money.
If a man and a woman do the same job, a man should earn more money if he generates significant revenue for the organisation where he’s working. That could be in funds generated, or advertising or sponsorship. One example is in the world of sports where male footballers are paid significantly more than female footballers. This is because male football attracts more viewers and therefore greater degrees of sponsorship and advertising. It’s simple market forces.
4. They ask for more money.
If a man and a woman do the same job, and they are appraised on that job, the man may earn more money if he asks for a raise. It is more likely that men ask for raises than women and therefore more likely their bosses will give them a pay rise. See this article on how female graduates dramatically underestimate their worth.
5. They network more.
If a man and a woman do the same job, the man may earn more money and greater opportunities as he networks more than his female counterpart. Men, by training or inclination, often choose to socialise with colleagues and network with potential clients. The more somebody is known in a particular circle, the more likely they’ll be trusted by others and the more opportunities they will gain.
All of the above points should be prefaced by “if” and can equally apply to women as well as men. It may seem vastly unfair that there is a gender pay gap, but the historic nature of men and women and the way they operate in the workplace is balanced in favour of males and away from females.
Does this mean that women should act more like men to be paid more?
I don’t think this is the case. None of the above points are particularly male traits, rather they are traits that males have adopted. It may be that work environments have been unfairly biased towards these activities and male workers have adopted those practices to earn more money. Also, having more men in positions of power makes it more likely that other men will progress at the expense of women.
Gender balance will not be achieved by simply encouraging women to act more like men.
Hundreds, if not thousands of years of biased thinking towards men means that we must take affirmative action to redress the balance. I applaud the recent news that female celebrities in the BBC have collectively demanded a pay rise to be more equivalent to their male counterparts. By asking for what they want, rather than accepting what is given to them, they have a much better chance of achieving their aims.
The Swedish government hopes to address the gender pay gap in part by emphasising equal parental leave. There is even a portion of benefit which must be taken by men or it is lost. The benefit to Swedish society is that women are given more opportunity to get back into the world of work and come closer to equalising pay over time.
When I first read about the story of the BBC, it made me think how things could be improved. At first I thought we should become gender blind when it comes to pay. In an ideal world this would be the case. However, we don’t live in an ideal world and we must work harder to make gender equity possible within the next few years.