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Why Aren’t We Using Our Analytics?

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There are everyday annoyances, and then there are just things that piss you off.  Usually the things that make me really angry are when something should have been fixed, but it hasn’t been.  Or something is happening too slowly where I should have just done something myself and been done with it.  Personally, I think I’m a pretty patient guy, but every now and then I’m shocked into anger.  Today’s topic?  NPR last week did a piece about the male and female wage gap.  Apparently it’s still there:

So, as the Washington Post notes, the authors tried to make everything as similar as possible. They tracked graduates with identical collegiate experiences, limited familiarity with the work world, and those who didn’t have spouses or children.

But the wage gap persisted.

The study found that in teaching, female college graduates earned 89 percent of what men did. In business, women earned 86 percent compared to men. In sales occupations, women earned 77 percent of what men took home.   (1)


If we were back in 1989, I get it – it was hard to pull and aggregate all of that data.  If it was 1995, only half of us were on PeopleSoft and the other half of us were managing something so clunky I’ve probably never seen it.  By 2001, everyone had upgraded due to the Y2K non-event and we all had basic reports.  We’re a decade after this and if we all just ran a report that had 2 rows on it, we’d have fixed this already.  Row 1 = Average Wage of Males in Org.  Row 2 = Average Wage of Females in Org.  You can get more sophisticated and run this by jobs or departments.  You could run this by job AND tenure.  You could get really creative in whatever you want to do.  But here’s the bottom line:

EFFING RUN THE REPORT!!!!!  (and while you’re at it, RUN IT ON ETHNICITY TOO!!!)

And helpful hint number 1:  You might want to run the thing and give it to managers right before/during merit time so they can see just what bastards they are.  And just so we are clear, there is no hiding behind “we don’t have the budget to give you more than 3%” on this one.  This is called the equity increase.  What you don’t have budget for is the $1M lawsuit that I hope is coming if you don’t act on it.

Helpful hint number 2:  Organizations I’ve worked with on analytics always had a gender and ethnicity pay, hiring and tenure scorecard as part of their monthly or quarterly deck.  Companies who do this right are looking at this every month/quarter and know exactly where they stand.  They won’t get it right 100% of the time because we’re still looking at aggregated data on a scorecard, but at least they know they are on target as a whole.

What’s sad, is that while there are a variety of reasons this stuff happens (some managers really do suck, sometimes women may not negotiate as strongly, whatever), the effects of this are pretty serious.  Whether it’s gender or race, the impacted have about 10% less money in doing the same job to pay their bills, buy a nicer house, and sending kids to better colleges.  Guys, this is a big big deal, and we are actually empowered to do something to expose it, and are empowered to bring this to light.  There’s no excuse if we don’t.

</end rant>

  1. Korva Coleman, October 24, 2012, “ Equal Pay For Equal Work: Not Even College Helps Women”

(apparently I’ve forgotten how to APA footnote and I don’t care to look it up…)

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