County Pay Practices: Although the Counties We Visited Have Rules in Place to Ensure Fairness, Data Show That a Gender Wage Gap Still Exists

Source: California State Auditor, Report 2015-132, May 2016

From the summary:
– Our audit concerning county pay practices and policies at four California counties—Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange, and Santa Clara—revealed the following:
– From fiscal years 2010–11 through 2014–15, the aggregate gender wage gap has widened slightly at each of the four counties.
– In the aggregate, female employees earned between 73 percent and 88 percent of what male employees earned.
– Men outnumbered women in classifications with average total compensation greater than $160,000 in fiscal year 2014–15, even though women accounted for between 54 percent and 60 percent of all full-time employees.
– When we looked more closely at groups of job classifications with similar compensation amounts, we found that pay disparities between men and women varied between less than 1 percent and nearly 9 percent.
– Three of the four counties did not document why a particular candidate was selected for employment over other qualified candidates.
– County officials could only provide documentation explaining their rationales for 39 of 154 competitive employment decisions we reviewed.
– The counties followed their own salary-setting pay policies, but a variety of factors unrelated to an employee’s skills or abilities can influence salary rates.
– Current law does not require counties to consistently monitor gender-based pay equity issues in the hiring and salary-setting process.
– Requiring public employers to report gender information when submitting employee-specific data to the State Controller’s Office would enhance transparency on gender pay equity issues.

Related:
Fact Sheet
Recommendations
Data Reliability Assessments