Thompson resignation expected

June 28th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Embattled employers’ chief Alasdair Thompson is expected to quit today as his lawyers fight out the terms of a settlement.

Sources said last night that Mr Thompson had not resigned as chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) and the lobby group’s board had not requested his resignation. But there was no will for Mr Thompson to continue in the role, one source said. …

It is believed that big corporate members of the EMA have agitated for his removal in the past 48 hours but progress has been bogged down.

The initial remarks were survivable. It was the two appalling Tv3 interviews that demonstrated such a poor lack of judgement that made the status quo so difficult to continue with. Everyone has a bad day when they say something wrong in an interview. But to then go on and make things worse, knowing it is such a sensitive issue, and having had hours to prepare, was such a bad look.

Labour list MP Carol Beaumont said it was clear Mr Thompson could not continue in his role, and the board should not need to deliberate so long about it.

What an appalling statement. Carol knows full well that the EMA is bound by the law of the land and they can not make any decision without formally putting towards Thompson their formal dis-satisfaction and allowing him reasonable time to respond to it. Carol’s job used to be to protect employees from employers who do not go through a fair and unrushed process.

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110 Responses to “Thompson resignation expected”

  1. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Don’t think we can condemn Carol Beaumont for a statement of the obvious. I’m sure Thompson will resign after due process.

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  2. adze (1,974 comments) says:

    I do think Thompson has shown how unsuitable he is for the role of EMA spokesman, but I have a growing unease at the lynch mentality developing in the NZ media. Perhaps the NZ Press Council should adopt a heraldic emblem of pitchfork and flaming torch.

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  3. peterwn (3,205 comments) says:

    mikenmild – But Carol was criticising the EMA for not dealing with the matter quickly enough – the implication of her statement was that he should be sacked on the spot. This was the point DPF was making. It is interesting that Carol would seem to agree with my stance that employers and employees should be able to opt out of the Employment Relations Act if the employee would be on more than $100,000 per year.

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  4. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    peter

    Yes, it’s unlikely anyone on 100k+ needs specific employment law protection. I haven’t seen the full quote from Carol Beaumont, so I can only comment on the ‘appalling’ bit DPF has posted above.

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  5. Andrei (2,531 comments) says:

    Its official we now have thought crimes and thought police in New Zealand.

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  6. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Yes, it’s unlikely anyone on 100k+ needs specific employment law protection. I haven’t seen the full quote from Carol Beaumont, so I can only comment on the ‘appalling’ bit DPF has posted above.”

    Bullshit.

    Look at the pressure put on EMA to dismiss Thompson summarily without any hearing. Look at the public and political pressure put on TVNZ over Paul Henry. Those employers are susceptible to the lynch mob mentality that seems to prevail and need to be accountable to the employee, not the public.

    Although not in the employment arena, Hughes was forced out because of public and media pressure.

    It does not matter what you are earning, there is always a bigger shark further up the food chain.

    Beaumont should have known better. That, on the other hand, does not mean that Thompson should keep his job. This is a matter for him and his empoyer.

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  7. pdm (842 comments) says:

    From what I have read you cannot place any credibility on the TV3 interviews. The bile should be as much directed at Campbell Live and it’s producers.

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  8. flipper (3,816 comments) says:

    If New Zealand spent as much time on serious issues as it does on this nonsense then we would, if the watermellons are fenced, probably head the OECD’s GDP rankings.
    As for Alisdair… Yes, he was dumb.
    Should he resign? Yes, but not because of what he said. Because he can no longer effectively advocate for the Northern EMA.

    On Beaumont … typical double standard!

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  9. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    Yes ,that was an appalling TV3 interview. Forbes and the producer etc should be sacked immediately.

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  10. metcalph (1,401 comments) says:

    It is interesting that Carol would seem to agree with my stance that employers and employees should be able to opt out of the Employment Relations Act if the employee would be on more than $100,000 per year.

    The problem with that is this:

    Day 1: Boss calls you in and says your salary is now $100,001 a year.

    Day 2: Boss sacks you.

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  11. GPT1 (2,103 comments) says:

    Of course employment law only applies to approved workers.

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  12. Lance (2,554 comments) says:

    @Nookin
    The reason those on big bucks get the big bucks with generous golden parachutes is they can be sacked at a whim, that’s the whole point.
    They don’t even have to do anything wrong as such, often it is about vision or something even more ethereal.

    That’s the basis on which you go into jobs like that. Whining about fair dismissal is bullshit on a stick.
    In the case of Thomson, he wasn’t smart enough to keep the press under control, he failed and he is out. Might not be ‘fair’ but it’s the job description.

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  13. peterwn (3,205 comments) says:

    metcalph – good point. That is why I said agree to ‘opt out’ – in other words the employer cannot force the issue with an unilateral pay increase. This sort of thing happened in UK (and possibly in NZ). A troublesome employee would be offered promotion to foreman (where standard terms was ‘employment at will’), accept the promotion upon which he ceased to be a union member and then was fired.

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  14. backster (2,120 comments) says:

    A victory for Political Correctness and another loss for plain speaking and stating the obvious truths.

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  15. labrator (1,845 comments) says:

    Welcome to New Zealand, where if you say something the left don’t like, you lose your job very publicly.

    Carol Beaumont is on over $100k. Look at the trouble Labour had at getting rid of Chris Carter.

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  16. Rick Rowling (823 comments) says:

    Throw him in the river!

    If he floats he’s a witch – burn him!!

    /ANGRY MOBS – because together we can be more stupid than any one of us alone

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  17. Elaycee (4,331 comments) says:

    For a CEO or MD, the support of the Board is pivotal and if that relationship breaks down for whatever reason, the relationship becomes untenable and the CEO or MD will ‘leave.’

    The reasons may be clear cut (if performance based, they will be covered by KPIs set out in the contract ) but on the other hand they may be totally subjective. But basically, if the Board supports the CEO, then all is good. If not, the CEO goes and the detail is in sorting an exit package that will send the CEO away without too many ripples, with a muzzle in place and without any threat of Employment Law litigation. Details would be covered by a Confidentiality Document.

    ‘Golden parachutes’ will be amongst terms written into an Individual Employment Contract at the outset – no use blaming the employee if they receive what has been agreed with the employer in advance. Its just one of the benefits of being able to negotiate an IEC.

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  18. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    NZ is getting ridiculous with a PC media deciding who should stay or go. What he said was ham fisted but it has more evidence based proven research than global warming. Its an opinion, it could be based on feedback from his members, it could be from experience in his own office, its certainly backed by PSA figures for sick leave and it is no more outragous than some of the rhetoric we get from the unions about employers.

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  19. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    Based on the two times I’ve seen this guy have any publicity at all, he’s an idiot. His job is to get the views of his employer out there. So far as I can recall, he had almost no success at that. He has, however, been successful in being in the media for two stupid things, and those things have rebounded on his employer. Of course he will be fired. And of course he will get due process.

    As for the witch hunters:
    1. Yes, it takes time to fire someone. Carol knows that, therefore her statement was pure political grandstanding, and a decent media would hold her to account on it – how exactly would she suggest they act, what provisions of the law could they use, how would it work? That would force her to put up or shut up. She knows this area inside out, it’s reasonable to hold her to account.

    2. Golden parachutes mean you can be fired at will? News to me. Does that mean that I can make someone redundant at will, seeing as their redundancy payment is a “golden parachute”? No? Thought not. You may as well just right “he’s a rich prick, and rich pricks have no employment rights.” It’s what you mean.

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  20. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Its an opinion, it could be based on feedback from his members, it could be from experience in his own office,

    But who knows – we don’t, and it doesn’t appear even HE knows. The public face of an organisation as big as the EMA has repeatedly showed “a poor lack of judgement” as DPF said. No way they can keep this guy on.

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  21. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    State Services Commission’s HR Capability Study shows that on average each working woman takes 24% more sick leave than each male employee – evidently this has nothing to do with menstruation.

    However it is a significantly higher rate of absenteeism, if it’s not “women’s sick problems” (to quote Thompson) what is the excuse then?

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  22. Nick R (500 comments) says:

    3-coil – 1 word: kids. Who takes time off when there are sick kids? More often mum than dad, in my experience.

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  23. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    Nick R – So does the employer have to accept that the employees sick leave will be for: illness of the worker + illness of any/all of her children (in the case of female workers), but only for the worker himself (in the case of male workers)?

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  24. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Leaving aside the commentators here who are simply misogynist, there appears two broad camps. One the one hand, those that think he’s been hounded out and on the other, those that think he couldn’t survive such an appalling performance. I’m in the latter but for the sake of clarity, I’ll explain why.

    I agree with David, you can say something stupid and survive but you first need to be genuinely contrite and you also have to have a killer comms strategy (it helps if you’ve got a reputation for being reasonable too). What Thompson said was stupid and in every single interview after he made matters worse. In simple terms, the representative of EMA Northern proved he wasn’t up to managing a crisis. Worse, it was a crisis of his own making. Worse still, he’s effectively forced EMA into a position where they’ll struggle to argue against the Delahunty amendment with any credibility.

    He has to go because he’s no longer credible or capable of doing his job. This isn’t about flying a plane or building a house or doing surgery; this is about effective lobbying which relies upon reputation and relationships as much as it does substance. He’s a pariah, his credibility is shot and he’s alienated significant stakeholders, including the Minister and the PM, as well as infuriating his members. To argue otherwise is ignorant.

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  25. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    “3-coil (901) Says:
    State Services Commission’s HR Capability Study shows that on average each working woman takes 24% more sick leave than each male employee …”

    TRUE – The figures based on data in the State Services Commission’s Human Resources Capability Study show that in 2010 men took on average 6.8 days sick and domestic leave annually while women took 8.4 days.
    So each year they take an average of 1 and a half days more. (24% sound a lot more doesnt it)

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  26. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    VoR, thanks for addressing this “representation”. If that’s the best data available, then Thompson’s boosters really should shut up. The leave difference is trivial to the argument about pay parity!

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  27. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    When is Bradford going to resign for her racist and sexist comments?

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  28. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Max ??? – He resigned years ago – ;

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  29. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    Voice – I can understand your confusion, but Sue Bradford is a woman.

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  30. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Maybe – but some might say she looks like a man.
    Then again Max did have a blue rinse.
    You are right I am confused.

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  31. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    3-coil, what comment of Sue Bradford’s are you talking about specifically or is this just a head-fake to draw attention from Thompson? The “she said it too/first” defence isn’t a great one either way.

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  32. RRM (9,632 comments) says:

    ;-) “The hypocrisy of the left” is like a wonderful all-purpose flame-retardant blanket for right-wing bloggers.

    Any time a rightist bastard / f*cktard goes down in flames, you quickly throw the blanket over it, and hopefully you’ll smother any discussion around what a f*cktard / bastard that rightist was.

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  33. RRM (9,632 comments) says:

    One day the partizan blogosphere will mature to a point where it doesn’t feel the need to do this, and the cheerleaders will learn to just criticise their own when criticism is due. Oh, happy day that will be!

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  34. Grendel (972 comments) says:

    what pisses me off is that some of the women i know that are calling for his sacking i know for a fact have gloated about being able to get a sick day no questions asked by claiming womens troubles. they revel in the fact that no male employer will ever question it.

    my last employee tried it on multiple times, once it was two weeks apart, which i know is possible but not likely. funnily enough ‘womens troubles’ only occurred on mondays.

    so who cares how much of an ass he was, the way he said it. if someone is ‘offended’ are we never able to even have a discussion about something?

    he brought up a valid hypothesis, that could be discussed. now personally i think that beyond entry level or low priority jobs most women who have to take time off for period pain make up the work or plan for it as part of their work schedule. but i know that some are less efficient that the equivalent make because of it.

    Now does this mean anything needs to be done, or just accepted as a possibility. personally i don;t think so, good employees won;t abuse it and bad employees are going to screw you in other ways anyway.

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  35. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Hell, an organisation seeking a new CEO would have to put any CV with the surname ‘Thompson’ at the bottom of the pile. Two dumbarses revealed in one year. A bit like how stupid you’d be to accept a preselection for a parliamentary seat from anyone by the name of Peters.

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  36. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Grendel, that’s merely anecdata. The only meaningful data so far of any relevance shows minimal differences in leave by gender (which could very easily reflect the tendency for women to take the major share of childcare).

    If you’re going to argue women’s comparatively low pay is anyway linked to having periods, you’d better get some data.

    Also, the “he bought up a valid hypothesis” comment, were it true, would have led to a very different interview with Forbes where the most Thompson could claim was second-hand knowledge from his own firm; hardly a solid base for his claim.

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  37. Murray (8,841 comments) says:

    “Voice – I can understand your confusion, but Sue Bradford is a woman.”

    You have presented your thesis, where is your evidence?

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  38. annie (540 comments) says:

    Actually, if recent reports are correct, men become more severely ill with the common cold than do women. (The research was rendered a bit suss though by the medical researchers’ willingness to link the findings to some flaky pseudo-evolutionary explanation they pulled, unsupported by any sort of survival advantage numbers, from thin air).

    If true, man flu days off together with hangover days off and cricket and rugby time off in front of some TV somewhere, should more than compensate for time lost to female bellyaches – which a fairly small minority of women suffer significantly from in any case.

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  39. Grendel (972 comments) says:

    No the fact that it is a valid hypothesis does not mean that it is either correct or supported by any data. as i have said i doubt its actually correct above anything but the very lowest level and the youngest women, simply because at higher levels they cannot afford to lose time at work so will work around it.

    Sorry 1.6 days per year per female employee of lost productivity over males is not minimal.

    and whats wrong with anecdotal evidence? if i have employed people and consistently see the same behavior from one group, should i discount it because its not been approved by those who decide what is allowed to be discussed?

    Did forbes have anything other than ‘anecdata’ to support her dissenting views? or did she even bother? i disagree the interview would have been different, he provided a hypothesis that the people who get offended by everything did not like so had to destroy him, no discussion ever to be entered into. there was never any discussion, and why if there was going to be, would you have a second rate jurnolist like forbes run it?

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  40. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Paul Williams said…
    Worse, it was a crisis of his own making. Worse still, he’s effectively forced EMA into a position where they’ll struggle to argue against the Delahunty amendment with any credibility.

    The answer is simple really. The state should fuckoff from trying to interfere in private properties of businesses. Workers don’t have rights, but the business owners do, so Delahunty and her amendment bill should be thrown into the bin and never to be brought up again. What business the government has in dictating to private businesses of what they can or can’t do?

    Delahunty is a classic example of retards that entered parliament who never had a success in (her sad) life on anything trying to regulate business people who risks their savings to run a business (thus leading to the employment of other people). How many useless pricks like her we’ve seen in Parliament in recent years? It is unbelievable, that idiot voters voting sad fu*ks like Delahunty, Sue Bradford, Norman.

    All you morons go out to the real world and risk your savings (or your possessions) and startup a business. You can pay your workers above market rates. Come back and tell us what’s its like.

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  41. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Falafulu

    No regulation of business at all, eh?

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  42. Andrei (2,531 comments) says:

    TRUE – The figures based on data in the State Services Commission’s Human Resources Capability Study show that in 2010 men took on average 6.8 days sick and domestic leave annually while women took 8.4 days.
    So each year they take an average of 1 and a half days more. (24% sound a lot more doesnt it)

    Depends upon how you look at it I guess.

    http://nzconservative.blogspot.com/2011/06/stats-show-little-difference-between.html

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  43. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    Right…so tell the truth in NZ and you lose your job.

    Terrific, it seems we are still in the grips of the painfully politically correct.

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  44. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    mikenmild , if you come for a job interview in my company and i refuse to offer you one, simply because I don’t like your look, your ethnicity, gender or perhaps your weight, etc…, even though you’re more qualified than the other candidates. Days later, you found out why I refused to offer you the job (perhaps from a source of yours in my company). You then run and lodge a formal complain to a government regulatory body (race relations, etc,…) about my discrimination against you. The law disciplined and fined me for doing that.

    Here is the BIG question. What rights of yours have I violated? Your rights have not being violated one single iota if I discriminated against you simply because you’re fat, ugly, black, brown, white, female or whatever my personal reasons for doing so. What business has the government got to tell me that I can’t have my own feelings of how to run my business? Can you argue against that? The potential employee and the government have no rights whatsoever to tell me what I can or can’t do with my company. The risk of running my company is solely on my shoulders, not employees and not the government.

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  45. John Q Public (14 comments) says:

    Can someone give me an example of a job where you’d get paid less to do it if you were female even though it’s exactly the same job with the same hours, responsibilities etc.? Honestly, I’d like to know.

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  46. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – AT attributed the difference in the pay gap to women taking more sick leave than males, due to menstruation among other things. The major survey referred to above shows the difference to be 1.6 days per annum.
    The median male wage is $57k pa The median female wage is $45k pa, that is 12k diff in return for 1.6 days extra leave taken pa. That does not support Thompsons version of the truth.

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  47. Andrei (2,531 comments) says:

    AT attributed the difference in the pay gap to women taking more sick leave than males, due to menstruation among other things. The major survey referred to above shows the difference to be 1.6 days per annum.

    Is it really so hard to get your head around the concept that the more hours a person spends actively engaged in remunerated work during their lifetime the more they are likely to earn over the course of their lifetime?

    Apparently this is a concept that is exceptionally hard to grasp for those with tiny minds – i.e. leftists.

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  48. Pete George (23,276 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi – you’re describing one of the biggest PC farces we endure (and I don’t usually like using the term PC).

    You can decide how ever you like what sort of person you employ, as long as you don’t say why. You must remain silent on your reasoning or recite only “I employed the most suitable person for the job”.

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  49. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Sorry Falafulu, I thought you were upset at the idea of any regulation at all, whereas you just want to be able to refuse someone a job for any reason (or for no reason). If I were to turn someone down for being a woman, she can make a complaint. If I turn her down becasue she is ugly or fat (or both); she has no recourse.

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  50. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    voice

    So, you admit that Thompson was right, women DO take more sick days.

    As for the pay difference, how do you propose to balance things up, are you really suggesting we pay women more when they perform the same tasks as men?

    Or is this just another issue that you did not mention when Labour were in power and only decided to make a big noise about it when the Nat’s have the treasury benches?

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  51. Elaycee (4,331 comments) says:

    Just announced – Alasdair Thompson KEEPS HIS JOB!
    :)

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  52. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    big bruv

    I may already have pointed this out over the past few days, but here goes again.

    Different sick leave rates for women seem to account for about 10% of the gender pay-gap. Discrimination seems to account for about 40% (OECD data). Although the gender pay-gap has narrowed over the years, there a still a range of factors working against it closing completely.

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  53. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    I have been asked what I think about the gender wage gap and what to do about it.
    First, what do we do about the fact that in NZ young unskilled women earn a higher median wage than young unskilled men? So what do we do about this gender gap. Pass a law to reduce the young women’s wages? Really, I feel as though I am stuck in a sixties dinner party.
    Anyhow, when you look at evolutionary advantage etc and consider pre-industrial behaviour there was no gender wage gap if only because so few people earned wages as we know them. But there was a division of labour (no pun intended). Women got pregnant, and gave birth (and survived if they were lucky) and then took responsibility for nurture and raising and caring. Women made the clothes and pottery etc, and nursed the sick and wounded. In return the men protected their women and hunted and gathered and fished. Women died in child birth, men died at war, or in the hunt.
    The division of labour was quite strict and often reinforced by taboo etc.
    The risks and rewards were different but evenly shared. As civilisation developed some women rebelled – most notably the women who joined convents and hence escaped the risk of childbirth, an of brutal treatment by drunken men. Queen Elizabeth the First decided to be a Virgin Queen because she knew she could not be a “prince” (her words) if she became enslaved to the pregnancy, birth, nursing cycle that was so demanding and risky at the time.
    It’s fair to say that women only began to compete for men’s work as a result of the 20th Century Wars, and by the development of jobs that did not need physical strength.
    But custom and technology (no birth control pill) meant that working for wages was a short term excursion for the vast majority of women and many never saw the need to slave at a desk rather than at home. Many still don’t.
    Naturally, there was a gender wage gap – but this experiment in human society has only been churning away for a few decades and the pill has only given women real choice since the late fifties.
    My view is that the gender wage gap is closing faster than most predicted and certainly more women are graduating from tertiary institutions than men already, and more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs and owning and running their own businesses.
    I have worked from home for most of my life and my wife and I have worked out a division of labour to our own satisfaction. Both of us have paid PAYE for only a few years of our lives. This is becoming more common, and is developing its own social milieu as both men and women live long beyond “retirement age.”
    Telecommuting is another driver of such trends. And of course, women now drive their own cars and have gained a whole set of freedoms – which many men still resent. Auto-mobility means autonomy.
    I am skeptical about government interventions and given that society is changing so rapidly and given that most of us who want to be are in charge of our own lives I would leave well alone.

    As I said earlier this current debate makes me feel stuck in a dinner party of thirty or forty years ago.
    Much of the outrage over Thompson’s comments seem to me to be driven by a lot of silly men indulging in an inverted feminist pissing contest.

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  54. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    Voice of Reason (11:34am) + PaulWilliams (11:40am) – my apologies if my conversion of hours per worker to a percentage has upset you both so much, but I am confident that the maths are accurate.

    But why are you so defensive about this?

    Why do you find this accurate percentage figure a less palatable “inconvenient truth” ?

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  55. nasska (10,866 comments) says:

    Owen McShane

    Interesting comment…thank you.

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  56. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    You confuse me with somebody who gives a flying fuck what you have to say on this, or any other matter.

    I addressed the question to Voice, not you.

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  57. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Interesting Owen.

    The debate has taken two forms:

    1. Thompson’s comments and his hamfisted attempts to rectify the situation. This is a matter for his employers. Clearly, they will have doubts about whether he can remain as a credible head of their organisation.

    2. The actual issue: Thompson linking the gender pay-gap to menstruation. This has created a fair bit of heat with little light. Thompson chose to highlight what might (at best) be a minor part of the explanation of the gap.

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  58. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    big bruv

    Thanks for making that so charmingly clear. You have a nice day too.

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  59. williamsheridan (63 comments) says:

    @elaycee

    “no decision for now” is not the same as keeping his job….. just more time booked to the lawyers, perhaps.

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  60. alex Masterley (1,498 comments) says:

    Owen, an interesting perspective.

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  61. Elaycee (4,331 comments) says:

    @williamsheridan

    Fair enough – I relied on the headline that appeared on my screen. The story is here:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10735038

    :)

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  62. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Here is a good analysis of gender wage gap.

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  63. Armotur (31 comments) says:

    I would take a brave man or woman to opt to be interveiwed by the TV3 Campbell Live team after this episode.

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  64. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    “3-coil (903) Says:
    ….But why are you so defensive about this?
    Why do you find this accurate percentage figure a less palatable “inconvenient truth” ?”

    Because when we are talking about small numbers as in this case, a % extroplates into a perception of greater difference in most peoples minds, Thompson’s claim and several posts here are proof of that.

    And because I cant believe several 1000′s of dollars difference in pay per annum can be put down to 1.6 days extra sick leave. I dont dispute that women take extra sick leave, however the reason for that I beleive is more likely to be due to looking after sick child than a heavy period.
    The same survey you mentioned child care a the likely reason. It also estimated the extra hours women work unremunerated in the workplace at $90mill based on public service rates. So take that into account and my guess is that the 1.6 days is compensated for.

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  65. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Falafulu

    That’s an interesting paper, although the maths is too technical for me. The conclusion seems to bear out the persistence of the wage-gap, attributable to several facors, including the historical experience of lower pay.

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  66. backster (2,120 comments) says:

    A woman rang Leighton this morning and claimed that many years ago the Clerical Workers Union of which she was a member negotiated 6 additional sick leave days a year to compensate for ‘Women’s Problems.

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  67. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    “Big Bruv -…So, you admit that Thompson was right, women DO take more sick days.”

    Yes I have already agreed on that point. Where I disagree with Thompson is his justification of why that is and how it relates to the pay gap. 1.6 days is only 0.6 % of the working year. (3-coil – that’s a very small %) how can that be responsible for a pay gap of 20%+

    I dont give a flying fuck who is in power. Nat – Lab – they are all the same

    The main argument of this thread is whether Thompson’s credibility is shot. In my opinion it is.

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  68. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    voice

    As I told big bruv, who for some reason didn’t want to know, it’s fairly well-established that differences in sick leave don’t account for the pay gap. Thompson must have known this; but chose to ignore it and persist in his foolish statements.

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  69. Gwilly (156 comments) says:

    Tell it as it is and all of a sudden you find yourself having to resign just because a minority section of society, i.e. feminists and unionists want you to.

    The shrill of this pack of losers goes to show just how correct Thompson is.

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  70. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    To use median wages as proof of a gender bias in wages is wrong.

    “The median male wage is $57k pa The median female wage is $45k pa, that is 12k diff in return for 1.6 days extra leave taken pa. That does not support Thompsons version of the truth.”

    It is, however, what the simple-minded think.

    To suggest that 1.6 days leave is the cause of the difference is, to be blunt, stupid.

    There are many societal factors that are the cause of the difference. For starters, type of employment and duration of continued employment would be more likely to give rise to the difference.

    I have no doubt that the remarks have been twisted to suit the political purpose of others. However that does not excuse what appears to be Thompson’s very inadequate ability to represent the EMA.

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  71. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Woman can do my work and maybe get paid more… but i wont do womans work and be paid less.

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  72. Elaycee (4,331 comments) says:

    “You confuse me with somebody who gives a flying fuck what you have to say on this, or any other matter”.

    Comedy GOLD!

    :)

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  73. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    In Australia, they’re a little more mature than we are about this issue.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/166305/gender-row-exec-has-point-expert

    Deborah Bush, who is a member of the Pelvic Pain Steering Committee Australia, said while she agreed Mr Thompson’s comments were discriminatory, he had a point.

    He had unwittingly highlighted the fact that millions of women around the world suffer from debilitating pelvic conditions such as endometriosis, which can force them to take time off work.

    “If we addressed this as a highly prevalent health issue requiring major attention, instead of scooting around the periphery of what was being said, we would be able to come out and see he has a point,” Ms Bush told AAP.

    “There is a real problem with these conditions affecting women and girls.

    “We can all get on a kneejerk reaction and slam dunk Alasdair Thompson, who has unfortunately articulated in a poor way.
    “He has struck a nerve. But the problem is a huge burden on women, families and society and sadly goes under the radar.”

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  74. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paul Williams said “If you’re going to argue women’s comparatively low pay is anyway linked to having periods, you’d better get some data.”

    Hmmm, now you’re sounding like Mihi Forbes. Can’t you argue without resorting to telling porkies? If you have seen the censored version of the Mihi Forbes intervew with AT, you would know that he stressed that women’s greater use of sick leave was a “tiny” – and he emphasised that word – contributer to the gender pay gap. Why, Paul, do you feel the need to make shit up?

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  75. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    And Paul, this might help to *partly* explain the gender pay gap:

    “Medical studies confirm that women’s on-the-job productivity declines substantially as a consequence of menstrual symptoms. For example, in a clinical study, Chawla et al. (2002) estimate that women with severe PMS symptoms experience decreases in productivity of 48.2% – 64.4% for women with the more severe PMDD – relative to the women with minimal symptoms.” (Ichino and Moretti, 2006)

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  76. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    big bruv (9,124) Says:
    June 28th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    mikenmild

    You confuse me with somebody who gives a flying fuck what you have to say on this, or any other matter

    Bruv

    I tried to say something similar yesterday but could not summons your eloquence, I bow down before you, gold

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  77. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Sometimes, it’s nice to have confirmation that men have it easier than women.

    Thank God for random chance.

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  78. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Yes, Luc, one’s gender, ethnicity and parental income at birth remain the most reliable indicators of success in life.

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  79. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Sometimes, it’s nice to have confirmation that men have it easier than women.

    Luc
    You have obviously bought into this myth as well, stop being so gullible please.

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  80. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Luc,

    Why don’t you ask Alisdair Thompson whether he’s having it easy at the moment :)

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  81. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Yea Luc
    next you are going to be telling us how child birth is for them, FFS how hard can that be, you even get drugs and flowers!! easy

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  82. reid (16,085 comments) says:


    Its an opinion, it could be based on feedback from his members, it could be from experience in his own office…

    But who knows – we don’t, and it doesn’t appear even HE knows.

    But we do Stephen, check the full 24 min Campbell Live interview which Mihi extracted to tell a particular pre-determined story which destroyed a man’s career, and see what he says about that very question. Along with a lot of other answers, as well.

    Yes, he should have been more aware of how people in particular the media would read his original stupid comment and yes, he should not have lost his temper and yes, the two-year-old Washington comment is what really puts the cap on his career and yes, that was self-inflicted.

    However, TV3 broke journalistic ethics according to Brian Edwards, who has offered Thompson assistance if he wants to take a BSA complaint. Just like those cops the media sometimes complain about who decide someone is guilty then work to find evidence that fits their conclusion, you can see after watching that entire 24 min interview, that what Mihi Forbes the sly bitch did, was to set him up asking the same question four times, obviously to get a reaction she could edit to fit her pre-determined opinion and I’m afraid, for that, she is the one who should be fired.

    The reason he lost his temper and that was the only bit she showed, was because she had just asked him about what he’d said for the fourth time and he’d already explained it three separate times, in detail, but still, like a dog to its own vomit, she kept returning to the same point over and over and finally he just lost his temper.

    Watch the whole thing.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Alasdair-Thompson—full-interview-with-Campbell-Live/tabid/367/articleID/216251/Default.aspx

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  83. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Paul, my eldest two were born before “normal” was being in the birth suite. Now I have been thorough it once, all I can say, again, is thank God for the random chance that made me a male! It’s much more fun making babies than giving birth to them!

    Ross, Thomson should have known better. Unlike you guys, it seems, I can remember him openly talking about his battles with depression, so I have some sympathy for his predicament, but not at the expense of him doing the right thing, which is resigning with dignity. However, like Roger Kerr and others of that ilk, Alasdair is prone to forget that, above all, he, too, is but an employee, a fact I once reminded him of through the good offices of the letters page of the NZ Herald.

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  84. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Reid – “what Mihi Forbes the sly bitch did, was to set him up asking the same question four times, obviously to get a reaction”

    Bollocks. He made a complete hash of answering the first three times – waffling, blathering and obfuscating. His replies were incoherent and even he would not have been happy had they been televised.

    Asking the same question over and over until you get a polished answer is standard TV journalism and not necessarily a sign of adverse bias – often its to the good of the interviewee. Mihi was just doing her job.

    Did she show us what the guy was really thinking? Hell, yes! Journalism prize for her.

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  85. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    It’s easier to shoot the TV show messenger and forget about Thompson’s message.

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  86. Robinson 666 (115 comments) says:

    Mai Chen dealt to the Thompson clown really well this morning. Bye bye Thompson!

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  87. reid (16,085 comments) says:

    Bollocks. He made a complete hash of answering the first three times – waffling, blathering and obfuscating. His replies were incoherent and even he would not have been happy had they been televised.

    Was she ever planning on asking him?

    Asking the same question over and over until you get a polished answer is standard TV journalism and not necessarily a sign of adverse bias – often its to the good of the interviewee. Mihi was just doing her job.

    I’m looking forward to the BSA’s opinion, if it happens, which I really hope it does. When someone like Brian Edwards criticises a Green-friendly show and a Green-friendly journo, you know they’ve done something wrong.

    Did she show us what the guy was really thinking? Hell, yes! Journalism prize for her.

    Er no, she didn’t. Any objective observer would have completely different mileage I predict orewa1. Would be happy to participate in a formal psychographic testing of that proposition, if you’d care to, at your expense of course. Happy to pay my share, if proven wrong.

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  88. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    reid

    I’d be very surprised if Thompson complains to the BSA. Revisiting this episode will be the last thing he wants to do.

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  89. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > Mihi was just doing her job.

    Mihi did for journalism what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen. If that’s her job, she should look for a new one.

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  90. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Would Aussie take a shit load of our drop-kicks including that minge Mihi Forbes in exchange for Deborah Bush?What a Woman!

    ……and “Bush” too. ;-)

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  91. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > Did she show us what the guy was really thinking? Hell, yes! Journalism prize for her.

    So you saw the 4 minutes and misses the other 23? Tell me what he was “really thinking” when you’ve watched the whole interview. Tip: what he was really thinking is not what you think he was really thinking.

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  92. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Can someone give me an example of a job where you’d get paid less to do it if you were female even though it’s exactly the same job with the same hours, responsibilities etc.? Honestly, I’d like to know.

    So would I.I asked that same question over at DIMPost and those hand-wringers couldn’t answer it.I understand that Men in the porn industry are vastly underpaid compared to the Women performer’s…. where’s the outrage over that?

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  93. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Robinson said…
    Mai Chen dealt to the Thompson clown really well this morning

    Err! What’s Mai Chen’s specialty? To the best of my knowledge her expertise is in the legal domain and not on labour markets. Thompson’s comment that got him into trouble with the public was an issue on Labour markets and not about the legality of women’s absenteeism from the workplace. Mai Chen is an expert in one area (legal) but zilch knowledge in the other area (labour markets).

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  94. reid (16,085 comments) says:

    reid

    I’d be very surprised if Thompson complains to the BSA. Revisiting this episode will be the last thing he wants to do.

    To the contrary mm the central thesis is: the meme that gave him the “he must be immediately fired” hysteria as has been evident since it broke, is based on flawed data: i.e. the Campbell Live show was rigged, distorted, engineered, call it what you like…

    That’s it, really.

    Let’s hope it’s really vigorously pursued through the appropriate, official channels.

    As I’m sure it is, at this very moment, somewhere in the Auckland CBD…

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  95. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    James – depends if we’re talking only about cash compensation I guess.

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  96. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    Falafulu, I don’t engage in foolish arguments lest I be thought a fool which you appear to be.

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  97. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    3-coil said:

    Voice of Reason (11:34am) + PaulWilliams (11:40am) – my apologies if my conversion of hours per worker to a percentage has upset you both so much, but I am confident that the maths are accurate.

    Your math is misleading; comparing two low value numbers is best done in absolute terms; using relative values can obscures the base. You should instead have expressed the difference simply in days; that is 1.6 days more for women than men on average per annum.

    My point remains, if this is the best data available in NZ, it is largely irrelevant to the debate on pay equity and Thompson was entirely wrong to raise it as a factor. Incidentally, I don’t know what the typical sick leave provisions are in NZ anymore, but between 5 and 10 days was typical, in which case this non-issue applies only to individuals who have 5 days annual sick leave.

    Defending Thompson on the data is not viable.

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  98. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paul,

    Women take 24% more sick leave than men in the public sector. Of course that’s an average, so clearly some women are going to be taking more (or less) leave. But it should be noted that the private sector employs more women than does the public sector, and the EMA representes employers in the private sector.

    Thomspon was not wrong to raise sick leave as factor as, given the international research, it does indeed appear that women take more sick leave than me. Indeed, in a recent Finnish study, women took 46% more sick leave than men. The question then becomes: what effect on women’s pay does this additional sick leave have? In a drect sense, it might not have much effect but in an indirect sense, it could be significant. That’s a point made by Ichino and Moretti, whose paper on this issue you may not have read.

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  99. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    should read “it does indeed appear that women take more sick leave than men.”

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  100. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ross

    It appears that women taking, on average, more sick leave on men does affect the gender pay-gap, but is by no means the most significant facotr. Discrimination remains a more significant part of the pay gap.

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  101. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    mikenmild’s made my point ross – I’ve not read the Finnish study and to be honest, I don’t know that it will be significant. Their economy is entirely different from NZ. It is much more reliant on elaborately transformed manufactures whereas our’s remains a service and primary production economy. IR arrangements will not be the same or comparable.

    Also, continuing to use the “24%” figure is quite misleading. As noted above, the absolute numbers should be used to avoid giving a false impression of the significance of the difference. It is 1.6 days and is likely within the allowance in a year.

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  102. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    mike, I suspect you are right…and of course Alisdair Thompson also said discrimination was an issue. So clearly what he said shouldn’t have seen him denigrated and vilified.

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  103. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paul W,

    You’ve completely ignored the point I made. The direct cost may be small in regards to the taking of leave, but the indirect cost may be significant. Remember Lynne Snowdon, the former head of Radio NZ? She took almost two years sick leave. But lets, for argument sake, that that cost her nothing. But what if she and a male colleague – who may have taken 1-2 days sick leave each year, are applying for the same job? Don’t you think Snowdon’s taking of nearly 2 years sick leave might reduce her chances of getting that job? (I realise that Snowdon’s is an extreme case but I suspect that taking a lot of sick leave may harm an applicant’s job prosepcts…and earnings potential.)

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10655150

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  104. tom hunter (4,553 comments) says:

    I put this into GD today since I thought this thread was dead, but since it isn’t…

    While I think that the primary driver is the larger proportion of women doing lower-paid jobs, I was also interested by some of the lessor factors – including the possibility that woman don’t negotiate as well as men?

    I put a question mark on that because it just does not seem possible in 2011 that this could be the case – Grrrl Power and all that. However, in looking at this link on How To Fail At a Job Interview, I came across this:

    If you are a woman and want to get depressed, read: “I work for a large multinational tech company, I regularly hire woman for 65% to 75% of what males make. I am sick of it, here is why it happens, and how you can avoid it.”

    The reason [women] don’t keep up, from where I sit, is simple. Often, a woman will enter the salary negotiation phase and I’ll tell them a number will be sent to them in a couple days. Usually we start around $45k for an entry level position. 50% to 60% of the women I interview simply take this offer. It’s insane, I already know I can get authorization for more if you simply refuse. Inversely, almost 90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more upon getting the offer.

    It gets worse from there. When women do counter-offer, they ask for lower sums or name no sum at all. “At the end,” the reddit poster says, “most of the women I hire make between 45k and 50k, whereas the men make between 60k and 70k.”

    Amazing. I wonder whether that’s also the case in NZ? Judging from the response of “Annie” in GD it may be even worse, since employers here seem to get their nose in a knot when a higher offer is requested. In the US that’s a sign of being a go-getter but here in NZ …..?

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  105. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    ross, your example is extreme so I’m not at all sure how it is relevant.

    You seem to be saying that despite their being data showing the difference in sick leave is 1.6 days, which can’t explain the pay differences, you know of a handful of examples where the difference is higher and this does explain pay differences.

    That’s absurd.

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  106. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paul,

    Given that 18,500 women take about 30,000 more sick days than men in the public sector each year, why do you say there’s only a handful of examples? And you’ve ignored that more women are employed in the private sector, meaning the issue of sick leave is probably even more relevant there.

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  107. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    ross, I agree there’s likely to be a difference in the employment rate of women compared with me in the private sector. I haven’t looked at the data.

    The 18,500 and 30,000 figures aren’t meaningful; they don’t relate to anyone’s experience. An employer experiences the costs of sick leave for their employees only, not the ones employed elsewhere.

    My point remains that 1.6 days more sick leave, particularly if within an annual entitlement, does not explain pay disparity so Thompson was wrong to introduce this as a factor.

    I do think that the relatively high proportion of women compared with men who interupt their career development to raise children will be a factor (and a part solution is encouraging more men to take time off to care for their kids).

    I don’t think we’re going to find an agreement since I am convinced that what limited and relevant data there is on sick leave simply does not explain wages differences. Unless we can move onto other factors, we’re going around in circles.

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  108. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Paul,

    The research that I’ve cited suggests that sick leave is a factor in the pay gap. And again you’ve missed my point. Go read the Ichino and Moretti paper which can be easily found online. If you don’t want to read it, then it suggests you have no real interest in this issue.

    And you’ve distoried the entire debate by saying “I don’t think we’re going to find an agreement since I am convinced that what limited and relevant data there is on sick leave simply does not explain wages differences.” No one ever said as much, certainly not me and certainly not Alisdair Thompson. Equally I could argue that discrimination does not explain the wage gap, and I would be correct. But I’d be ignoring the fact that discrimination contributes to the wage gap, such as the taking of sick leave does.

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  109. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    ross

    The best stuff I can find indicates that sickness differences might account for about 10% of the gap and discrimination about 40%.

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  110. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    mike,

    Those are estimates, but this is more an art than a science! How do you quanitfy discrimination?

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