Professional Issues in Social Work
Contrary to the spirit of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), analysis of recent labor market statistics indicates that salary gaps between male and female social workers is fairly constant, with the average salary for males being higher than that of their female counterparts. These differences lead to various socio-economic differences between males and females, with 11% of females experiencing post-retire gender poverty compared to 6% of men. Introduction Enacted on June 10, 1963, the Equal Pay Act aimed at not only closing salary gaps but also addressing disparities in how workers are treated at the workplace. The Act provides in part that: No employer shall subject employees to any form of discrimination, including, sex, race or ethnic background, or use the latter in setting the levels of pay and compensation for different employees undertaking substantially equal work (EEOC, 2018).
This requirement aimed among other things, facilitating the closure of gender and race-based disparities in how employers treat and compensate (remunerate) their employees. Salary disparity by gender In nursing, one of the important areas of practice on social work for example, Muench, Sindelar and Busch (2015) observed a general trend where most male Registered Nurses (RNs) earned more than their female counterparts. In the study, employment statistics for the years between 1988 and 2008 were used, and indicated that although only 7% of the 87,000 RNs considered for the study were male; their average annual salaries were at least $1,200 higher than that of their feminine peers. Throughout the period, the statistics indicated a fairly constant distribution of the salaries among the males and females, with no significant alteration of the salary disparities between males and females being reported.
In a similar study, Torpey (2018) reported a significant difference in the earnings between males and females with the same level of training when assigned similar responsibilities. In both of these cases, the researchers reported a significance difference in the pay for both male and female social workers, with males earning comparatively higher salaries then their female counterparts. The classification of social workers by the level of training in Torpey (2018) presents three categories of social workers, namely, bachelor’s degree holders, master’s degree holders, and post-masters degree holders. Of these classes, the master’s-degree holders are more sought after, with their annual pay averaging at $47,980 per annum. Social workers with bachelor’s degrees, and associate degrees had the least average pay of under $35,000 per annum, while the fewer holders of post-master’s degrees having slightly under $47,980 annual pay.
In these instances, licensing of the social workers irrespective of their area of practice and training was an essential consideration (Muench et al. , 2015; Torpey, 2018). S, additional causation factors include the age and ability of employees. At norm, more experienced employees are by the very nature of human making older than less experienced ones. In social work for example, a fresh graduate from University is likely to be younger by age than a more experienced manager in the same field, hence, earning lower than the more experienced managers. Torpey (2016), Spetz (2016) and Bishu and Alkadry (2016) wade into the mater, by noting that although the average age of social workers in the U. S labor market is 42 years, younger social workers should be offered equal employment opportunities like their older, and at times, more experienced individuals.
This makes some fields more competitive than others when it comes to equitable allocation of job opportunities and distribution of salaries. It is however, important for employers to ensure equitable remuneration for both genders, the races and ethnic groups as well as fields of practice for comparably similar jobs in line with the Equal Pay Act. The underlying challenges in enforcing EPA are at times genuine, and less expected to ensue in ensuring total closure of salary gaps in the market. It is for example, at times challenging to fill-in various races, each with an equal share of opportunities at both the institutional and national level. In the U. Occupational employment and wages, May 2017. Retrieved from https://www. bls. gov/oes/current/oes211022.
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