Editorial: Work on Ohio wages is needed


Ohioans know our state has some work to do as we shake off the socio-cultural norms that have held back so many. A report by Columbus-based economics and public policy firm Scioto Analysis has showed us another way in which we can do so. Their data shows there is still a big gap in pay between white men and women and people of color.

According to the Ohio Capital Journal, the firm, using data from the U.S. Census Community Survey, found in 2019, the average non-white male in Ohio earned 20% less than the average white male. The average white woman made almost one-third less. Though we know a gap has existed from the beginning of formal employment in this country, the report showed the gap has persisted over the past five years.

Scioto Analysis showed the gap between white men and women is responsible for 80% of the overall earning gap in Ohio. And though they are fewer in number, pay disparities for non-white women are responsible for a portion of the earnings gap as well.

Nationally, an analysis of census data by the National Partnership for Women and Families showed Native American women make 60 cents for every dollar a white man does, Black women 63 cents and Asian American and Pacific Islander women 83 cents.

While the factors creating such a gap are complex, the bottom line is no one should be getting paid less because of the color of their skin or gender. Other factors cited frequently by employers — differences in physical ability, education, experience and time away from the workplace — are simply not enough (nor entirely legitimate these days) to account for the enormous difference in earnings.

It is a shame it continues. Employers can do better.

At the least, the data should inspire employers to take a look at their payrolls and honestly assess whether employees are being paid what they are worth, regardless of race or gender. Should they find trends that mimic those seen in the Scioto Analysis report, they should figure out why, and do their best to eliminate the gaps when warranted.

— The Marietta Times, July 15