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Austin ahead of most in pay equity

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by Jo Clifton

Austin continues to do well in pay equity when compared to other large employers across the nation, according to a professional study done for the city. Mike Verdoorn, compensation consultant with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s Human Resources and Compensation Consulting Group, explained to City Council during its work session Tuesday that his company has done a statistical analysis of pay differences among genders and races over the last two years in order to help the city analyze and correct pay discrimination against women and minorities. The results for 2016 were very similar to the results for 2015, Verdoorn indicated. According to the data he presented, nationwide the average pay for female employees is only 79.6 percent of what male employees make in the same job category. At the city of Austin, female employees are paid 96 percent of what male employees make in the same job. One continuing problem for gender equity, of course, is that women frequently start at lower-level jobs than men. The study also found that non-sworn black employees earn 81 percent and non-sworn Hispanic employees earn 78 percent of what their white counterparts make. The numbers were considerably higher for sworn members of the police force, firefighters and EMS employees, according to data presented Tuesday. Mayor Steve Adler said, “Generally speaking, this reads like a very strong, favorable report. Am I misreading it?” Verdoorn assured Adler that he was not misreading the information, saying that Austin is “far ahead of where the national average is in gender and race pay equity in terms of the jobs that they’re in.” Joya Hayes, director of the Human Resources Department, told the Austin Monitor, “We’re really excited that the report shows we’re good, but we’ve still got bigger concerns among our employees with regard to equity in the work environment – beyond just pay. We’ve got to stay committed to following through on hearing their needs relative to work environment, employee relations and investigations.”

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