Friday, November 01, 2013

The endless joy that is Polly

Tim is quite right (obviously): Polly Toynbee is flat out wrong when she says this:
Equal pay day falls on 7 November, the day women stop being paid because of the gender pay gap. Forcing equal pay audits, so employers had to reveal how much less they pay women, along with rights for higher paid jobs to be part-time, might end the pay gap – which stands at 35.6% for part-time women.
The actual figures for the comparative full-time pay gap is (or was last year) about 9.5% - a continuation of a trend of diminishing differences. The largest factor in the gap is parenthood - women are more likely to either change jobs or reduce hours to facilitate child care. The part-time pay gap is actually negative - that is part-time women earn more than 5% more than part-time men. Polly must know this, she's just manipulating the figures to make her point.

Oddly, here is Polly a few years ago complaining that you shouldn't, in any event, "stupidly average up all jobs" in an effort to calculate whether one sector of society is paid more than another. This was because the TPA calculated that average pay for public-sector employees was about 8% higher than private-sector employees. In imitable style, she tried to unpick the (incontrovertible) evidence:

The facts are accurate, but the context makes it a statistical cheat.
This was a good effort from Polly, in that a sentence with two facts in it managed to get one of them right. 


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