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March, 1985, Vol. 108, No. 3
Wage differences among workers
in the same job and establishment
Establishments employing two workers or more in an occupation often pay these workers at different rates. How frequent is such pay variation? How wide is the resulting spread in rates? Does the degree of pay dispersion differ by occupation? This article explores these 9issues using data collected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 1983 Area Wage Survey program. Where an establishment had two workers or more in a job, the percent by which the salary of the highest paid incumbent exceeded that of the lowest paid incumbent was calculated. Percentage differences for individual establishments were then averaged over all establishments providing such comparisons.
Rate structures were clearly different for white- and blue-collar workers. More than three-fourths of the workers employed in the 40 white-collar occupations studied were in establishments paying more than one rate for their job. Fewer than half of the workers in the 28 blue-collar occupations studied were employed in multi-rate situations. The remainder were either the only incumbents in the job or were paid at the same rate as the other incumbents of the job.
Among workers employed in establishments paying more than one rate for a job, the pattern was again different for white- and blue-collar occupations. Average wage spreads between highest and lowest paid workers in the white-collar occupations studied ranged from 17 percent for industrial nurses to 42 percent for intermediate electronics technicians. For the 12 skilled maintenance occupations, average wage spreads for all but two were between 7 and 14 percent. Among unskilled plant occupations, ranges were as small as 13 percent for power-truck operators (other than forklift) and as large as 45 percent for lower level guards.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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