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New Study Suggests Recruitment Procedures Could Be Responsible For Pay Gaps


A recent study from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget examined the pay differences between executive branch state employees. The goal was to identify the existence of pay gaps specifically tied to gender and minority status.

After controlling for determinants of pay, the study found men employed in the executive branch earned 2.2% more than women and non-minorities earned about half a percent more than minorities on average.

Chief economist for the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget Nathan Talley said while these numbers are meaningful they are not statistically significant. However, he said if individual examples are examined there could possibly be evidence of gender and minority driven pay gaps. 


“We're working with our Department of Human Resource Management and other state agency leadership's leadership officials to try to investigate and see, okay, what level do those gaps actually exist?" said Talley. "Is it omitted variable bias or some other different analytical gaps in our research? Or is there something to be learned here?”


Executive director for the Department of Human Resource Management, John Barrand, said most state employees are compensated equally meaning that it’s hard to have pay inequities when everyone gets the same. 


Barrand said that if there are pay gap issues they are possibly based in the hiring process but whether or not it’s related to gender or demographics isn’t clear. 


“We may have pay gap issues based on the recruitment process. So that may not be related to gender or demographics, it could be related to the desperate need to hire someone, right?" said Barrand. "So if you want, if you need to hire a financial analyst one and you're paying $20, well, if you make it $22 an hour, you might get more candidates more quickly and fill the role.”


Barrand said there are examples of females making more than their male counterparts and this could exist amongst minority demographics as well. 


The study also found that women and non-white identifying workers are underrepresented in leadership positions. 


The Department of Human Resources Management has posted a job opening for their first ever inclusion accelerator who will have the responsibility of asking the question, “do we have an inclusion problem?”