Across Oregon, white and male state employees out-earn workers of color and women, and raises given in 2019 and 2022 under a new “pay equity” law widened rather than narrowed the racial pay gap, a new report by the Secretary of State’s Office found.
That Oregon’s Democrat-controlled state legislature accomplished the exact opposite of their intent is both telling and funny.
The obvious question is: “Why are white male state employees paid more?”
Women and people of color who work for the state of Oregon tend to have less experience than male and white state employees, said Ian Green, the audit manager who oversaw the creation of the report. The law allows differences in pay due to education, experience, training and seniority.
So…white males are apparently more experienced and thus receive more pay. This is a problem, why? It’s not a “pay equity” issue if the people being compared are not the same in an employment metric like education, experience, etc.
(If they were being paid more because of their race or sex that would a completely different story, but that’s not what the report says.)
Citing scholars, the report notes that discrimination in hiring and promotion have been shown to be two factors, among others, that lead to lower pay among women and people of color generally. For women, time away from work to care for children or other family members has also been shown by scholars to negatively affect their pay, the study noted.
“Citing scholars” is such a misleading way to frame the issue. Sure, discrimination can be a factor. Is it here in Oregon? No evidence that’s case apparently.
And yes women frequently choose to leave the workforce to take on caregiving and do so at a higher rate than men. So?
Oregon’s 2022 pay equity study found that women working for the state of Oregon still earn a base pay of 83 cents on the dollar compared to men doing the same or similar work, the same as was the case in 2015 before pay equity became law. People of color working for the state earned 88 cents in base pay for every $1 paid to white workers for the same or similar work in 2022, worse than the 91 cent rate for state employees of color in 2015.
Evidence of disparity is not evidence of discrimination. White men are apparently being compensated more for their work because they have more job-relevant characteristics. I’m sure the Democrats in Oregon will continue to do their best to end this practice.