- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - An examination of municipal salaries has found that Austin’s work force is overwhelmingly male, especially in upper-management jobs and other higher-paying positions.

Nearly 70 percent of the city’s full-time workers are men and 63 percent of upper management is male, according to the analysis by the Austin American-Statesman (https://atxne.ws/1LtYc6i ).

The review looked at hourly wage data for nearly 12,000 full-time municipal employees, and it found that the median female employee earns 86 cents for every dollar a man earns. The Statesman used a different methodology than the one used by the city when it released an August report saying women earned 96 cents for every $1 earned by a man.

The analysis also found that women are overrepresented at the lower end of the pay scale and underrepresented among the highest-earning workers. For instance, women comprised only 23.6 percent of the workers making $30 an hour or more.

Compared to the women on the city’s work force, men tend to have longer city careers that have allowed them opportunities for promotions and raises. Of the more than 1,500 people who have worked for the city for at least 20 years, more than 73 percent are men, the Statesman reported.

City officials say they’ve taken steps to target the recruiting of women, particularly in the fire and police departments. The City Council has also reviewed pay inequity, ordering the pay study that came out in August.

“Certainly we’re not satisfied where we are now,” city Human Resources Director Mark Washington said. But he said union-based policies designed to equalize pay and promotion opportunities leave him little room to enact ways to hire and promote more women.

The city is doing better when compared to the national pay gap, which is 78.6 cents per $1 a man earns, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Advocates say equal-compensation practices are important because they strengthen the area’s economy by increasing the earning potential of both genders. Closing the pay gap could have a broader impact in the Central Texas region because city government is one of the five largest employers in Austin.

Experts on gender pay say there’s no single reason why women often earn less than men. The gap is driven by educational opportunities, the types of jobs women and men pursue, and other factors.

“Women typically go into jobs that are lower-paying than men do,” said Jessica Milli, an economist with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Over time, that pay difference gets accentuated, and it really amounts to a lot of earning losses over a woman’s lifetime.”

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, https://www.statesman.com


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