LIMA — Between 2012-2016, women made approximately 72 cents per every dollar a man makes in Allen County and 84 cents per every dollar a man makes in Lima, according to data provided by the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey.
According to an analysis by LiveStories, the highest gender pay gap between 2012-2016 in Allen County was in the installation, maintenance and repairs industry, where women made approximately 41 cents to every dollar a man makes.
In Lima, the largest gender pay gap was in the management industry, with women making approximately 43 cents to every dollar a man makes, according the report.
The Lima News reached out to various women business leaders in Lima, however, they did not return phone calls.
Jed Metzger, President of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce believes that the gender pay gap was caused by women going into male-dominated fields decades ago, were paid significantly lower, and over the years the pay has not reached an equilibrium.
“It’s an important issue that businesses need to address,” Metzger said. “It has to be a priority, but I know that the change will not happen over night.”
If men and women were paid equally, he believes that employers would build a lot more pride in their organizations, and their employees would be more appreciative.
David McClough, associate professor of economics at Ohio Northern University, also said the figures provided do not take into consideration factors such as experience and a skills gap. Through his academic research over the years, he has found that the gender pay gap is actually closer to five cents as opposed to 28 cents.
“Once you control things like differences in education, experience, occupation of the individual, location, job title, industry, you’ll find that the gender pay gap is smaller than you think,” McClough said. “The gap may not be as glamorous as 20 cents, but it’s still a gap, and it leaves women being discriminated against and not given the same opportunity as men.”
Although there is a gender pay gap, McClough said businesses have been making strides to close the gap over the years. Women in their early 30s made enormous progress. He believes that the data provided is misrepresentative of their progression.
Through his research, McClough found that education has not been a factor that contributes to the gender pay gap.
“There are plenty of women who are educated,” McClough said, “In fact, women earn degrees in greater numbers than men, so that’s not the reason why there’s a gender pay gap. I hypothesize there is a gender pay gap due to a woman’s lack of experience.”
The lack of experience stems from women historically not working as much as men have, McClough said. Maternity leave could be a factor that contributes to women earning less money because a woman lacks the training needed to earn more.
“A mom didn’t necessarily explore jobs based on wages, but on how the job fit into her family routine,” he said. “It was good for a woman to have the hours that she wanted. This in turn led to less hours and lower wages.”
The smallest gender pay gap in Allen County was in law enforcement and legal, where women made approximately 99 cents to every dollar a man makes, according to the report.
McClough hypothesized women who chose to take advantage of temporal flexibility contribute to the gender pay gap.
He used the example of a two lawyers: a male and female. The males takes a Wall Street job that requires him to work 70-90 hours a week and expected to be on call. The female lawyer takes a job at a firm and only has to work 30-45 hours a week with no expectations to work weekends or nights.
“This is an example of temporal flexibility because the female lawyer has a job that accommodates her lifestyle,” McClough said. “I think young women make that choice so if she lives on her own she has more time for friends, can visit family, and have time to go on vacation.”
However, he concludes that because the male lawyer was required to be on call and work more hours, he also had a higher salary that his female counterpart.
Overall, McClough said he believed that because women are working more, he hypothesized there has been an increase in pay and thus further closing the gender pay gap.
“Clearly with women working more hours they are receiving a higher income and it implies a growth and development in the economy,” he said.
In Lima, the smallest gender pay gap is in the health diagnosing occupation, where women made approximately 87 cents to every dollar a man makes, according to the report.
In Allen County, women made more money than men in the food prep, healthcare support and personal care industries. Women made more money than men in food prep, material moving, office and administration, personal care and transportation in Lima.
According to a recent report by National Partnership For Women Families, women in Republican Jim Jordan’s district make 73 cents for every dollar a man makes, which is seven cents less than the national gender pay gap, according to the report.
Going forward, Metzger said when employers are hiring on employees, they need to make sure that individuals with similar credentials and experience are offered the same salary.
“It’s a change of the culture that we have to gradually progress towards,” said Metzger.
Joe Patton, director of Allen County Job and Family Services, said he does not believe there is a gender pay gap in Allen County. Although he cannot speak on behalf of every company, he said he ensures that men and women who get jobs in his government department are paid equally.
“Every employee, including administration, has to go through a wage scale, which determines how much a person makes depending on their experience and the length of time that they have worked for the company,” Patton said.
Vince Ozier, the director of human resources for the City of Lima, said he doesn’t believe the data regarding the gender pay job is completely accurate. He said organizations who compiled the data did not take individual’s skill sets into consideration.
“I do not want to discount that there is a n issue, I just do not believe that those figures take all the factors into consideration,” Ozier said.
He does, however, believe the gender pay gap may be more prevalent in corporate or white-collar jobs, as opposed to entry-level or blue-collar jobs.
“With a management position, you have a negotiated salary, whereas the lower end of the pay skills there is a fixed pay scale, so there is no opportunity for there to be a gender bias,” Ozier said. “However, even if in Lima we have an administrator who negotiates a salary, city council has to approve it based off of experience and skill set.”
McClough also hypothesizes that other gender pay gap factors include women not negotiating pay as much as men do, and women go into occupations that have become feminized. He hypothesizes that average wages decline when you have a occupation that proportionally has more women.
Another hypothesized factor is occupational segregation and vertical integration. Through vertical integration, men and women in the same field could be paid differently based on various factors, McClough said.
In regards to the medical field, he hypothesizes male doctors typically go into specializations, which usually pay more, and women go into a family practice which typically pays less.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews