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Letter to the Editor

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Look at All Pay Gaps, Not Just Gaps for Protected Groups
I have just read The Cardinal Sin of Crossing Data with great interest and its companion piece, The Push to Advance Pay Parity. My comment is that although organizations are indeed unlikely to track experience from previous employers (which if they did could help to justify gender pay differences), what is more common is that job titles for workers with vast differences of experience are likely to reflect that. Thus, they won’t be compared together when they do have appropriate job titles. For example, in Andreas Spurlock’s letter to the editor, there are two accountants with three years of service at a company. One accountant, though, has 15 previous years of experience. There is a danger of comparing these and inferring a gender pay gap. I agree with that, but it could be avoided if the accountant with 15 more years of experience was a senior accountant and the accountant with only three years was a junior or staff accountant. I think it is common to have title differences and that this can go a long way to preventing the “the cardinal sin of crossing data.” I would like to add that as we examine pay gap issues, it would be a great idea to look at all pay gaps, not just gaps for protected groups. 

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— Gail Langendorf, CCP, Product Manager, Oracle (Canberra, Australia)

Editor’s note:
For another perspective on the issue of pay inequity, see the John H. Davis article, “Deep Dive: Looking Beneath the Surface of the Gender Pay Gap.”

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