Pay gaps you can see

How many multiples can you see at your workplace?

I’ve got four multiples of at least four outside my window — within one organization. Is this a good idea? Is it fair? Etc. To ask these questions it’s good to make it as concrete as possible. The infographic below is here to help.

I can ask two different questions about the costs and benefits of unequal pay — and I like to try to keep them separate. Most people believe pay differentials are important for motivating people to try harder, invest in education for scarce skills, and reward talent. So, one question is whether that’s true.

If you believe that’s true, you should also ask the second question: How much inequality do you need to accomplish that?

Last fall we had some news about housekeepers at UNC — the people who clean our buildings — being suspended for taking unauthorized breaks. One of them was Odessa Davis:

Without getting into the pay of individuals like her, I’m happy to say that state salaries are publicly available in North Carolina, made accessible by search tool from the News & Observer. A quick search on position title shows housekeepers usually make in the mid-$20,000s. From there, multiply that by 4 to get to a typical Full Professor (one without a special title or high-profile administrative job). Multiply that by four and you’re almost to what the University Chancellor makes.

Finally, we’ve got at least one more multiple of 4 to get to the Men’s Basketball Coach. His official state salary in the database is only $334,000, but with funds from sports promoters he’s paid a “retention bonus” that has been estimated to put him around $2 million per year.

Any of these people could be making extra money I’m not including — like a second job for the housekeepers, patent or grant income for the professor, who knows what for the Chancellor, and book royalties or endorsements for the basketball coach.

And now for the infographic: One dollar-sign equals $1,000 of annual income:

HOUSEKEEPER: $25,000
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FULL PROFESSOR: $100,000
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CHANCELLOR: $420,000
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MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH: $2,000,000
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3 Comments

Filed under Me @ work

3 responses to “Pay gaps you can see

  1. And in the university setting, it’s worth adding in tenure. The professor and the Chancellor enjoy job security that is denied to the basketball coach and the housekeeper. The coach negotiates a term to his contract, and is then left to the market. The housekeeper is dependent upon a union doing that for her–at least in some states.

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    • Yes. I don’t know about the Chancellor – can’t they lose their Chancellor jobs, and get bounced back to the faculty? On the other hand, Roy Williams doesn’t have tenure, but two national titles buys him a lot of bad years before he gets the axe. And, when it comes to the housekeepers — in NC there are no public unions permitted, so that’s that (http://bit.ly/fGINoo).

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  2. Crazy to see the difference this way. Doesnt seem fair, does it?

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