Wake County task force looks to close gender pay gap

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County is trying to get working women higher pay.

Research done by a county task force shows on average women are paid 30 percent less than men with similar jobs.

They’re asking area companies to take a hard look at what they can do to improve the numbers.

“Now that we’re in 2017, I think people hope and want that to be something that’s sort of still in the past. But it looks like it’s still an issue that we’re facing,” said Emily Kelly, a research analyst that works in downtown Raleigh.

In Wake County, the average wage gap is 10 percent higher than the state or national level.

That bigger gap in pay is why the county created a task force in March 2016 to address the issue and why they’re asking more than 250 businesses, non-profits and colleges to take an anonymous survey.

“Look at what you’re paying men and women in similar positions, with similar responsibilities, similar titles,” said Beth Briggs, task force member and executive director of Dress for Success Triangle.

“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen enormous wage gaps in my work, and the work I do, and what I’ve been paid,” recalled Briggs.

Briggs says one reason Wake has a higher gender wage gap is because there are more educated women.

She says the higher the education and the deeper you get into a professional career, the more often wage gaps are seen.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, a doctor, a financial advisor – these wage gaps continue to be larger between men and women,” said Briggs.

“I feel very equally treated where I am now and I’m very happy with my current position. But I have experienced things like that in the past, yes,” said Kelly.

Kelly says she was surprised by the 30 percent gender wage gap in Wake County, but is glad to have women like Briggs taking on the problem.

“I think that it’s been a problem that’s been going on for a really long time and I’m glad that the county is addressing it and we’re starting to bring some light, shed some light on these issues,” said Kelly.

The task force hopes to analyze the data received from companies in the next couple months and release a report on their findings by this summer.

The surveys are being administered by the Novak Consulting Group.

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