During my working career I was Human Resources Manager for a ten-store chain in San Diego. I have hired and fired a lot of people during that tenure.

People were hired for specific jobs with a specific job description. There was no difference in the requirement for men or women.

After that all bets were off. If a person excelled at their job, then raises in compensation followed. If they didn’t excel then either coaching or termination was called for.

What Constitutes Equal Pay

It would be physically impossible to pay each individual equally for the job performed. If an experienced person performs a job they are compensated in part for that experience.

Putting an inexperienced person next to them making the same money simply would not work because that new person is going to make more mistakes than the experienced person and be costlier to the company.

I could never justify hiring a new person at the same level of pay as the highest paid person doing that job.

That would devalue the person who worked their way up to that level of compensation.

Equal Pay Equal Unequal Employment

If the business owner is misogynistic then he’s home free to hire all men. However, what if a woman offers to work for less? What does he do in that case?

Suppose the woman wants hours that allow her to take the kids to school and pick them up after? Or to work nights so she can be home during the day?

This puts the business owner in an impossible spot. He would have to turn the woman away because he’d have to pay for less hours even if equal work was possible.

What Is Equal Work

Is equal work number of hours worked? Is it amount of work produced? Is it the number of contacts made? Number of sales made? How can that even be quantified?

The very definition of equal work is ambiguous at best.

Businesses are not charities. Workers are hired to trade their skills and expertise for money from their employer.

They not only have to produce enough to pay their salary but also all the other benefits they receive as part of their compensation package.

Some Final Thoughts

As you can see, equal pay for equal work has a lot of unknowns. Currently each worker is free to negotiate a work package that works for them.

The only real laws are minimum wage and discrimination. While we do have equal pay laws, enforcement of those laws is very difficult in some cases.

It’s unfortunate that anyone in a hiring position can always find a valid reason for not hiring someone.

I think people should be paid on the basis of their skills and their expertise. Not their sex. Comments below