Gender pay gap among state employees revealed by governor’s office study

Stock photo | Photo by Olivier Le Moal/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — A recent study conducted by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget has revealed some instances of gender pay gaps in the state executive branch, with the study reporting other gaps in the state per the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to a press release from the offices of Gov. Spencer Cox, the study examined executive branch state employees, their wages and demographic and workplace characteristics, such as gender, minority status, tenure and work performed. The study was carried out in order to inform efforts to narrow the gender pay gap.

The study contains four key findings suggesting that while, on average, pay differences can be explained by nondemographic factors, there is evidence of gender pay gaps within some agencies and within similar levels of work performed.

“After modeling for determinants to wages,” the study states, “average pay gaps are estimated such that males earn 2.2% more than females and non-minorities earn 0.6% more than minorities.”

“Utah’s national placement in wage disparities based on gender and minority status frequently gains media attention and concern from various groups including state government leadership,” the study reported, adding that according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah has among the largest gender wage gaps in the nation, with women earning 71.2% of that of men on average.

The study continues to state:

U.S. Department of Labor data suggest that Utah ranks 34th, 28th, and 17th relative to other states in earning differentials among those who identify as Latino and/or Hispanic, Black and/or African American, and Asian-Pacific Islander, respectively. Specifically, it is estimated that Utah labor force participants who identify as Non-White and/or Latino or Hispanic earn between 75% (African American) to 98% (Asian-Pacific Islander) of White peers.

Although these statistics fail to account for factors that likely affect a worker’s ability to secure wages (e.g., human capital and occupation), other public use data and research literature supports the existence of a pay gap across worker demographic characteristics when other labor inputs are considered.

Additionally, the study shows evidence women and minorities are underrepresented in jobs associated with higher levels of pay and decision-making authority.

Cox said in the press release that state employees demonstrate “extraordinary dedication to the taxpayers they serve.”

“We are pleased to learn that, on average, state compensation policies provide equal pay for equal work, but we know there is more to be done,” he said. “We look forward to tackling problems related to equality of opportunity so that every Utahn has a voice in places where decisions are made.”

Accompanying the findings are action items developed by the Department of Human Resource Management in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. Field officers from the department will continue to develop additional agency specific responses to ensure the state maintains and improves equity practices.

The full study from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget is available online. A one-page summary of the major findings and associated action items is available here.

According to the press release, the mission of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget is to create more value for every tax dollar invested.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!