Data Center Journal

VOLUME 44 | JUNE 2016

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THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL | 5 t he question of whether all data centers are created equal deals with arguably straightforward technical, business and econom- ic matters—at least compared with the question of equality among data center professionals, which throws messy politics into the mix. In particular, concerns over the underrepresentation of certain groups, as well as the oen cited wage gap between men and women, seem to indicate that equality is far from a priority. Major technology companies have fallen all over themselves in recent years in an effort to hire more women and minority employees as well as, more recently, to eliminate the gender pay gap. But laying aside whether the demographic breakdown of the workforce can or should reflect the population at large, what's the real story behind this much bemoaned pay gap that apparently warrants more attention than, say, the imminent (some would say pres- ent) demise of Moore's Law? pay InequalIty: already agaInst the laW e U.S. Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits employers from paying members of one sex at a different rate than members of the opposite sex for "equal work" (i.e., substantially similar work done under similar conditions, requiring similar skill and effort, and so on). Yet an oen cited statistic—including by U.S. President Barack Obama—is that women who work full time only earn $0.79 for every $1.00 a man makes. Sounds horrible, but let's dig a little deeper. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data for 2014, among full- time workers 16 years and older, women on average earned about $0.83 per $1.00 for men. But the BLS also reports that among these same people, men work on average 43.6 hours per week compared with 40.9 hours for women. Ignoring reconciliation of mean to median data, the result is that on an hourly basis, women earn closer to $0.88 per $1.00 a man earns. In other words, just this one factor—typi- cal hours worked—cuts the supposed pay gap by almost one-third. But another factor seems to be far more critical than even hours worked: marriage. In 2014, again among full-time workers 16 and older, women who were never married earned almost $0.94 per $1.00 for never-married men. Factoring in the average number of hours worked for these never-married individuals (42.3 for men and 40.8 for women), the gap shrinks to $0.97 for women versus $1.00 for men. at $0.03 difference approaches the level of statistical insignificance. e other mari- tal statuses (married with spouse present, divorced, separated and widowed) exhibit a much greater gap, ranging from about $0.77 to about $0.83 on the dollar. ese data suggest that aer adding life choices (including work/life balance) into the mix, the wage gap decreases. And the two additional considerations above say nothing about educational attainment, industry type, working conditions and so forth. Indeed, were the wage gap truly so bad that women made 20% less than men for the same work, one would expect a rash of lawsuits filed against employers for wage discrimination on the basis of gender. And since women comprise some 73% of hu- man-resources managers according to BLS data, whistleblowers should abound if pay inequality is truly so horrific. Moreover, given that employers are oen portrayed as caring only about money, one would also expect them to hire far more women than men and thereby cut their employment expenses drastically. Aer all, why not hire 100 capable women if the price is the same as that of 80 equally capable men? e story just doesn't fit. What's the story In the data center? Perhaps the litmus test for equality- mongers should be what they intend to do if the situation reverses and women make more than men in a particular industry. Would campaigns for men's rights in the workplace follow? Would legislation intended to protect men from wage dis- crimination fly through Congress? Would feminists decry their "female privilege"? e data center industry may be one way to find out. According to the results of a survey conducted by Stratoscale in February 2016, women make far more on average than men in the data center. A press release said, "Most notably, and regardless of role, female data center professionals earn 17 percent more on average than their male counterparts." Of about 300 IT profes- sionals who responded from companies around the world, about 88% were men and 12% were women. Stratoscale said it took into account role, age and company size and was unable to identify any biasing factors that could otherwise account for this surprising disparity. Of course, one study does not con- clusive proof make, but it raises a number of questions with regard to the prevailing story about the disadvantages of women in the workplace—particularly in the technol- ogy industry. If even close to representa- tive, the Stratoscale survey results suggest that women are indeed capable of keeping up with men in earnings, even in technolo- gy-focused industries like the data center. Given that the supposed gender pay gap is all but entirely absent for never- married people when controlled for hours worked, one possibility is that the data center industry has overcompensated by promoting women faster than men or otherwise taking steps that increase their wages relative to men's. at's merely speculation, but considering the years of browbeating that the technology industry has suffered at the hands of equality- mongers peddling the mythical wage gap—as well as rhetoric from executives at many major companies regarding efforts to "resolve" these supposed problems—it may have some basis in fact. conclusIons e Stratoscale study, assuming it's reasonably accurate, deals a hey blow to the idea that women are at a significant earnings disadvantage to men (at least in the data center). Moreover, just a basic look at the statistics for the workforce in general shows that the notion of a broader wage gap is either much less of an issue than many would suggest, or it's not an issue at all. What seems to be a far more important earnings factor than gender is marriage—never-married men and wom- en, when controlling for hours worked, are about on par in terms of earnings. Unfor- tunately, these facts will do little to stop the juggernaut that aims to enforce "wage equality" regardless of whom it slanders or how much bitterness and resentment it provokes. n

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