Why the Wage Gap in Los Angeles is Worse Than You Think

A recent report released by the California State Auditor shows that California counties (including Los Angeles County) are experiencing a gender wage gap among county workers.

According to the California State Auditor, women working for Los Angeles County make 76 percent of the wages of their male coworkers.

Why is Los Angeles experiencing a wage gap? A recent Los Angeles Times article interviewed several prominent county officials who claim that women may lack the same job opportunities as men. Many of the high-paying county jobs held by male workers, such as fire captains and sheriff’s deputies, are rarely held by women.

The Los Angeles Times article notes that only 4 of the 622 fire captains in Los Angeles are women. Fire captains in Los Angeles County make an average of $245,000 per year. Some Los Angeles County executives are calling for increased recruitment of women in male-dominated jobs to help offset the wage gap.

Can the Wage Gap in Los Angeles Be Fixed?

One of the interesting aspects of this report involves Santa Clara County, which was found to have a less severe wage gap problem (at least compared to the other counties in the audit). Women working for Santa Clara County made 87 percent of what their male counterparts received. While a wage gap still exists, it is less severe than what was found in Los Angeles County and Orange County.

Santa Clara County hiring managers must document reasons for choosing candidates. In fact, Santa Clara County is going a step further by finalizing a new gender wage gap ordinance that would increase the transparency of wage data. County employers would be required to track gender wage data and provide it to other county departments on demand.

If Los Angeles and Orange County were to adopt similar measures, in addition to boosting recruitment of women in male-dominated jobs, it is possible the wage gap would decrease over the next few years.

The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. can help workers facing discrimination.

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