Carpe Diem

‘Equal Pay Day’ this year falls on April 8; the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’ will occur on December 20, 2023

jobdeaths

Every year the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) publicizes “Equal Pay Day” to bring public attention to gender pay gap. “Equal Pay Day” this year will take place tomorrow on April 8, and represents how far allegedly into 2014 the average woman will have to continue working to earn the same income that the average man earned last year based on the questionable assumption that women working full-time earned 23% less than men on average last year.

President Obama will use “Equal Pay Day” this year to issue two new executive orders addressing the wage gap between men and women, including one that will require all federal contractors to report employee compensation data by race and sex to the Department of Labor. Interestingly, the White House has its own 12% gender wage gap as I reported recently on CD. In that post, I calculated that February 20 was “Equal Pay Day” at the White House this year, based on the fact that women working in the Obama White House earn only 88 cents on average for every dollar male staffers made in 2013. At a White House press briefing today, Jay Carney tried somewhat unsuccessfully to explain the 12% gender pay gap for White House staffers.

Inspired by Equal Pay Day, I introduced “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” back in 2010 to bring public awareness to the huge gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States. “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” tells us how many years into the future women would have to work before they would experience the same number of occupational fatalities that occurred in the previous year for men.

Using annual Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on workplace fatalities by gender for 2012 (and assuming those fatality data will be similar in 2013 – the actual data won’t be available until August) an “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” can be calculated. As in previous years, the chart above shows the significant gender disparity in workplace fatalities in 2012: 4,045 men died on the job (92.3% of the total) compared to only 338 women (7.7% of the total). The “gender occupational fatality gap” in 2012 was considerable — almost 12 men died on the job for every woman who died while working.

Based on the BLS data on occupational deaths by gender, the next “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” will occur almost ten years from now ­­– on December 20, 2023. That date symbolizes how far into the future women will be able to continue working before they experience the same estimated loss of life that men experienced in 2013 from work-related deaths. Because women tend to work in safer occupations than men on average, they have the advantage of being able to work for more than a decade longer than men before they experience the same number of male occupational fatalities in a single year.

Economic theory tells us that the “gender occupational fatality gap” explains part of the “gender pay gap” because a disproportionate number of men work in higher-risk, but higher-paid occupations like coal mining (almost 100 % male), fire fighters (96.6% male), police officers (84.8% male), correctional officers (72% male), farming, fishing, and forestry (77.3% male), roofers (98.5% male) and construction (97.5% male); BLS data here. On the other hand, a disproportionate number of women work in relatively low-risk industries, often with lower pay to partially compensate for the safer, more comfortable indoor office environments in occupations like office and administrative support (73.3% female), education, training, and library occupations (73.6% female), and healthcare (75% female). The higher concentrations of men in riskier occupations with greater occurrences of workplace injuries and fatalities suggest that more men than women are willing to expose themselves to work-related injury or death in exchange for higher wages. In contrast, women more than men prefer lower risk occupations with greater workplace safety, and are frequently willing to accept lower wages for the reduced probability of work-related injury or death.

Bottom Line: Groups like the NCPE use “Equal Pay Day” to promote a goal of perfect gender pay equity, probably not realizing that they are simultaneously advocating an increase in the number of women working in higher-paying, but higher-risk occupations like fire-fighting, roofing, construction, farming and mining. The reality is that a reduction in the gender pay gap would come at a huge cost: several thousand more women will be killed each year working in dangerous occupations.

Here’s a question for the NCPE that I ask every year: Closing the “gender pay gap” could only be achieved by closing the “occupational fatality gap.” Would achieving the goal of perfect pay equity really be worth the loss of life for thousands of additional women each year who would die in work-related accidents?

40 thoughts on “‘Equal Pay Day’ this year falls on April 8; the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’ will occur on December 20, 2023

  1. Would it be worth it? So long as the ones who go into those high-risk jobs are the ones who complain the loudest about pay inequality . . . . yes.

  2. Assuming that the 23% wage gap exist (I don’t believe it does but let’s just assume it does) then why does it continue to exist year after year? I mean does the demand curve for female labor work differently? Is there systemic, ongoing discrimination against women by employers, many of whom are women also?

    Why hasn’t someone taken advantage of this divergence in costs? If you can get labor from women at 23% cheaper than labour from men, why is the unempoyment rate for women not zero? Some smart business person would have decided to only hire women since they are 23% cheaper than men and that company would have destroyed the other companies that are employing the more expensive men.

    So if women on average are paid 23% less then men for work of equal value, what employer in his right mind would ever hire a man over a woman?

    Of course the answer is sexism, by both male and female employers. So this injustice needs to rectified by the government. Sure makes sense…..

    • If indexed for productivity, women are actually paid more than men.

      Call it the ‘political correctness tax’.

      Also, many woman-dominated categories of jobs (like HR) have increased as a proportion of corporate employees, in recent years.

      That female CEOs (like Meg Whitman or Marissa Mayer) are not rushing to hire other women, says it all. This supposed pool of lower-cost expertise, is a fairy tale used to buy female votes. The problem is, this myth will never go away. Ever.

  3. Oh, but Prof. Perry, when a man dies from an occupational death, his wife no longer has a provider!!

    So women are still hardest hit. How dare you not point out the losses women face from male workplace deaths.

    Of course, Dr. Helen has pointed out that many women think it is bad for men to live too long, as that depletes the retirement savings that could otherwise go entirely to his widow.

    So the best thing is for the man to work hard until retirement, and then die the next day. Then, the suffering of women is minimized.

  4. “Closing the “gender pay gap” could only be achieved by closing the “occupational fatality gap.” Would achieving the goal of perfect pay equity really be worth the loss of life for thousands of additional women each year who would die in work-related accidents?”

    well, the women seem to be saying “no” in a resounding fashion, don’t they?

    presuming that dangerous jobs pay more (as seems valid) then women seeking higher pay would seek out such jobs if they thought the money was worth the risk.

    yet they do not.

    the market seems to be speaking loud and clear there.

    women do not think the risk is worth the reward.

    that would seem to imply that, having made their own decision based on their own preferences, that not getting a “danger premium” is somehting they have no right to complain about.

  5. “probably not realizing that they are simultaneously advocating an increase in the number of women working in higher-paying, but higher-risk occupations like fire-fighting, roofing, construction, farming and mining”

    No, they aren’t. They’re advocating for safe office jobs to have the same pay that high-risk occupations have. That’s why feminists (like all leftists) are so wedded to credentialism. By pushing equal pay rules that price by credentials rather than employment conditions they leverage women’s vast advantage in college degrees.

  6. Some of the wage issue can be explained by not comparing apple to apples. If a woman and man are “family practice” doctors they will earn about the same – but the stats look at all doctors so there is a gap because men are much more likely to become surgeons and anesthesiologists. So just looking at doctors makes women’s wages look bad.

    Fast track programs also cause the stats to look worse for women -,even though they are getting pro.noted faster and earning more than same aged piers. That isn’t considered – just she is a second tier manager at 25 and she is earning less than the second tier manager who took until 45 to get there.

  7. Let’s face it. There is no way overall pay will ever be equal between the genders. I think that’s pretty much understood. That is not the real issue. Fixating on really risky (mostly male) jobs vs. much less risky work, which most females are involved in and then saying men should be paid more than jobs where the risk is less, is fine, as far as it goes. The real issue is – in those riskier jobs, where some women are involved, and less risky jobs, where women gravitate to, the pay in any given area should be the same/similar regardless of the gender.

    Those people concentrating on overall pay inequality ignore the questions brought up here concerning risk and fatalities, not to mention numerous other considerations, such as giving birth, etc.

    Those people concentrating on risk and fatalities ignore the overall pay inequality.

    The real issue here should be that any type of work will have a different pay scale as compare to others. But the pay scale in a given type of work should be the same, regardless of gender.

    We really should define the problem better. As it is, instead of debating true inequality and arriving at reasonable conclusions, we seem to enjoy talking past each other.

    Professor Perry, I think you can do better.

    • kleht

      The real issue is – in those riskier jobs, where some women are involved, and less risky jobs, where women gravitate to, the pay in any given area should be the same/similar regardless of the gender.

      Actually the pay should probably be whatever the employer and employee agree is the correct amount for that individual doing that job. Since you and I have no idea what that amount is, we should probably refrain from trying to make decisions for them.

      We really should define the problem better.

      Actually, there is no problem that requires us to do *anything*.

      As it is, instead of debating true inequality and arriving at reasonable conclusions, we seem to enjoy talking past each other.

      True inequality? Exactly what IS “true inequality”?

      Fixating on really risky (mostly male) jobs vs. much less risky work, which most females are involved in and then saying men should be paid more than jobs where the risk is less, is fine, as far as it goes.

      You are missing something here. It’s not that we “say” men should be paid more for riskier work, in fact what we “say” doesn’t much matter. The reality is that jobs that are riskier *must* pay more to attract people willing to do them. The fact that men are more willing to take risks than women, explains why there are more men than women in those higher paying, riskier jobs. It’s really pretty simple.

    • No one is ignoring anything. The progressives who “demand” equal pay for unequal know exactly what they are doing, creating a splinter group whose demands only they can satisfy. The Democrats have a game plan, segregate America into as many small groups as possible, create a “grievance” for each of them to complain about and then solve the “grievance” with other peoples money. It works every election.

      • The Democrats have a game plan, segregate America into as many small groups as possible, create a “grievance” for each of them to complain about and then solve the “grievance” with other peoples money.

        This is one of the things “axe grinding” majors learn in school. A common career for such people is “community organizer”.

          • Paul

            Exactly. The job of a community organizer is to agitate some group of people by pointing out the oppression they’re suffering under, that they weren’t previously aware of, until they jump to their feet and march on City Hall. After some amount of yelling and picketing and general disturbing the peace, City hall throws money at them to make them go away.

            Rinse, repeat.

    • I work in the construction trades industry as a sheet metal journeyman.All journeymen are paid the same wether you are female or male.However,from my experience, when it comes to doing the more physical and most dangerous jobs the men are almost always assigned these jobs.On top of that , in the state I live, jobs that require any govt. funding or taxpayer funding require a certain percent of minority hours on the job.So the people least asked to do the most physical and dangerous work have more job security.It`s an up and down business,so guess who gets laid off when it`s a down time.I`m all for equality but lets really be equal.

  8. Would achieving the goal of perfect pay equity really be worth the loss of life for thousands of additional women each year who would die in work-related accidents?

    Hmm. Interesting question. Since the total number of people employed in dangerous jobs would likely remain fairly constant, workplace deaths would probably also remain fairly constant. That would mean that an increase in the number of women killed would be accompanied by a *decrease* in the number of men killed.

    It all works out. No price is too high to pay for equality.

    (/sarc)

    • “That would mean that an increase in the number of women killed would be accompanied by a *decrease* in the number of men killed.”

      Women don’t care much about workplace safety if only men are getting killed. That’s why they scream bloody murder about pay scales while ignoring employment conditions, it’s not their ox being (literally) gored. If there were a large rise in *women* getting killed at work, as would happen if women started performing these dangerous professions (will never happen but bear with me), then women will complain as much about safety as they do about money.

      • Yes. And that is why the recent push to feminize the military is a very pure sign of a declining society.

        Extremely few women are interested in doing the dangerous work done by grunts. Military casualties in the US or any other first-world country will always be 98-99% male.

        Oh, but there is a lot of free money that comes from having certain jobs in the military. Free healthcare, free college, etc. That is why women have a sudden interest in the military – it is where some easy freebies are.

        This also explains their sudden interest in the tech industry (despite very few women being truly interested in the work. The few who are, are Asian women). There are freebies to be extorted from the nerds. This is also why the government mandated that Zuckerberg/Facebook create Sheryl Sandberg, as a figurehead they can use.

        Sheryl Sandberg is one of very, very few US billionaires who did not found anything, or become the CEO of anything. She became a billionaire the same way many ex-KGB insiders in Russia became billionaires – political cronyism.

  9. If I had more time to be a conservative community agitator (it’s like a “community organizer,” but instead you just organize to agitate lefties), I would organize a Million Male March on Washington, ending at OSHA where we will burn bras while singing work songs.

  10. Back in the 1970s when Equal Pay was a big push, a number of state and local governments reclassified a number of typically female and typically male jobs to have the same pay. Most famously, they made the pay for file clerks the same as grounds keepers. The result was that lots of men applied for the nice cushy indoor file clerk jobs and no women applied for the dirty, sweaty outdoor grounds keeper jobs. The experiment was a complete failure, and everyone went quietly back to using prevailing commercial rates for the jobs. And men took the dirtier jobs because they paid more, and women took the more comfortable jobs because they didn’t really want those couple extra bucks.

    • This is now called “wage disparity” in the leftist narrative and is being resurrected in localities such as Seattle.

      From a guest editorial in the Seattle Times by a female city council member:

      “While Seattle government has a narrower gap than the region for women — they get paid 90 cents on the dollar that men receive — several departments show disturbing pay disparities between men and women. The report recommends ways the city can help women and minorities attain wage parity.”

      All of the “disparity” in wages is the result of higher pay for firefighters, police and linemen for the city electric utility — dangerous and physically demanding work.

    • Vinnie

      The experiment was a complete failure…

      It’s amazing no one considered busing of file clerks and groundskeepers considering how well that worked with schools.,

  11. I want to start a new mutual fund that can’t lose. We’ll do social justice investing — investing ONLY in labor-intensive companies that discriminate in FAVOR of women — paying qualified women 85% of what men make in their jobs — pay which liberal professors assure us is far higher than these helpless women are now making.

    According to liberals, women are stooopid victims, so they will line up around the block for this “higher” pay (vs. only the 77% Obama ET AL tell us they now get). These businesses will have a TREMENDOUS market advantage against competing firms — firms run by anti-women CEO’s who prefer to hire equally qualified men at 30% higher pay (the current ballyhooed differential) so the guys can all go to the restroom together (or whatever).

    Perhaps I can get liberal governors and city politicians to pass a law mandating that their high-performing(??) pension funds invest gobs of money in my profitable endeavor.

    The scary thing is — these pinhead progressive politicos just might take me up on my offer!

    • Richard-

      one of the awful things about the world is that sometimes, one thinks one is joking only to find that others, with great seriousness, are doing precisely what one thought was a a lampoon.

      http://www.feminist.com/market/wombus/equity.html

      oddly, they do not (as most mutual funds do) provide historical returns or even their publicly traded ticker on the website.

      this might lead one to suspect that perhaps this “gender arbitrage” is not as profitable as hoped…

      • Morganovich — Thanks (I think) for finding that outfit! It’s telling that, on their website, they ask for “donations” to the fund — not investing in the fund. While technically it’s considered an investment (it IS a mutual fund), it’s primary purpose seems to be to harass businesses as shareholders (resolutions and lawsuits) and to seek press coverage.

        That being said, they are not following my “can’t lose” business model of investing in companies that arbitrarily pay women “more than they are worth” (according to market pricing). They push for benefits for women, but nothing really specific. Moreover, they buy companies they hope to CHANGE from current practices to more women subsidy positions — presumably profitable companies that will later be less profitable of they adopt the group’s agenda.

  12. Maybe governments can turn this civil service pay disparity into a money saving campaign. Rather than raise the pay of female clerks, let’s DROP

  13. Perhaps we taxpayers can turn this “pay disparity” to our advantage. In the interest of social justice, we equalize the gender pay of civil service employees. But rather than RAISING “women job” pay, let’s SLASH the pay for “men” jobs — notably police and firefighters.

    Given how out of line such police and PARTICULARLY firefighter pay is compared to the market (at least in CA), we could save a bundle while suffering little appreciable drop in public safety.

    And women will be sooo much happier. It’s a win-win!!

  14. Based on some rather old (2003) data, men work an average of 313 minutes of ‘market work’ per day, compared with women’s 201. That would put equal work day some time in early July.

  15. I should mention this in passing — women get a HUGE DISCRIMINATORY subsidy from Social Security. They live five years longer than their racial gender counterparts — so they get SS benefits 5 years longer. Unlike private annuities, no SS pay-in or pay-out adjustment is made for this increased live expectancy.

    And, just to be fair, it should be pointed out that SS is the most RACIST policy in America. The average black male live expectancy is about age 70. Average white female life expectancy is about age 85 (outdated figures).

    So black men slave away for white women. Nothing changed!

  16. They also didnt mention the fact men work more hours.
    From this blog:
    http://triggeralert.blogspot.com/2014/04/wall-street-journal-pay-gap-is-myth.html
    “Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week.”
    and
    “Then there is the issue of marriage and children. The BLS reports that single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012.”

  17. Women are an evolutionary mistake. But soon with new technology like artificial wombs and female sex robots, we will no longer need human women for either sex or reproduction, and thus human women will go obsolete.

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