Ann Bares has an articulate and thoughtful post on the content and potential ramifications of the national Paycheck Fairness Act. While government intervention to equalize pay across occupations despite market demand may sound in theory like a nice, progressive thing to do, it has potentially detrimental implications for the workplace.
"I don't deny that gender pay differences exists; in fact I've posted on this topic before. I do believe, however, that the influences behind gender based pay differences are varied and nuanced. And my 20+ years of experience in compensation convinces me that aiming an instrument as blunt and misguided as the Paycheck Fairness Act at U.S. pay administration practices will have consequences that are more harmful than good - particularly in its aim to negate the impact of the market. I see the market performing an important task for society in exerting its influence on pay. The market drives pay differences for a purpose, the purpose of meeting society's demands for different kinds of work and contributions.
Ann goes on to explain the value of market-based pay (as imperfect as it may be at times) in situations such as the United States' current need to attract more students to the science and engineering fields. Simply paying women in non-scientific jobs on par with men in scientific jobs may sound nice on the surface, but harms the greater good overall by unduly emphasizing work tasks that don't drive the economy in the same way.
I've dealt with enough unhappy employees to know that pay alone does not drive worker satisfaction. And most employees want to truly pull their weight - mature individuals don't tend to feel as confident about themselves and their contributions to the organization when they have an inflated title or salary that is not congruent with their cost to the business. For these reasons, both women and men should be opposed to falsely assigning value to a job in the name of fairness.
Read the rest of the posting here then take some time to leave either me or Ann a comment and let us know your thoughts!