Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good In Theory; Practice, Not So Much

First, let me start by saying, I don't have a problem with the underlying concept of equal pay for equal work. It's truly a noble concept. However, it's also very simplistic. It ignores a number of realities so that it can foster the idea of victimhood.

For starters, how does one define "equal"? I mean, outside of assembly-line-style work, how does one objectively define and measure equal work. Most jobs I'm familiar with are inherently subjective in their value.

It's really not a question of gender, race or whatever criteria you want to use. It's a question of how do you determine your basis for equality.

Even if you can, somehow, determine that two workers are producing equal work and have equal qualifications, other factors complicate it. Say that I, as an employer, have two positions that I absolutely have to fill. Say that I find two objectively equal candidates two fill those two positions. Say I offer a $60,000/yr pay rate for the position. Now, let's say that job-candidate "A" thinks, "well, $60,000 is more than fine for my needs: I'll take it!". Now, let's say that job-candidate "B" thinks, "I ain't doing that job for anything less than $70,000/year." As established before, I, as employer, absolutely have to fill both positions. So, if I want candidate "B", I have to offer him $70,000/year. Candidate "A" has already accepted $60,000/year. Am I now obligated to offer candidate "A" a $10,000/year bump to match the offer I've made to candidate "B"? Personally, I don't think an employer should be required to make such an offer (and it has nothing to do with the gender, race, religion, sexual-orientation, etc. of candidate "A").

But, whatever. I'm not some talking-head on TV. I'm not some politician trying to score points/votes with certain sectors of the population. I'm just some guy who's trying to ensure that I am always able to demand a given compensation rate without having to worry that a potential employer will need to say "no" because making a given offer-size to me would require them to extend the same offer to others who'd previously not required or requested it.

At the end of the day, I tend to think that, chances are, if you're crying about equal pay for equal work, you're the one who's unwilling to assert your value. Your unwillingness to demand your worth shouldn't impact on my ability to get what I think my worth is.

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