I don’t want to spend too much time on this because I don’t really think the response adds much I didn’t already write in my last post, but I’ll address a couple points and do encourage you to go read it yourself.
I think PayScale fairly summarized my critiques but their responses either were a rehashing of the results of their study or provided extra but baffling evidence to show where I was wrong. They also seem unhappy that I originally contacted them for more information about the study methodology via Twitter where they were restrained to only 140 character responses. My only response to that is that if they actually put basic information about their study methodology in the section they labeled “methodology” I would have no need to contact them at all.
One of the big things PayScale says I got wrong was the sample size. I wrote in my post that they had a sample size of 13,500. I was getting this from their methodology where they write “The findings, which focus on gender ratios, job level, industry and job category breakdowns for the above questions, are based on a sample 13,500 respondents who are working in the United States.”
In their response, they claim that the data used in the study actually came from “several million users over the last year” and that the 13,500 were just a smaller sample group that was asked a couple extra questions. They also provide a link that I thought would take me to more information about the survey they conducted on several million users, but when I clicked it merely brought me to the front page of PayScale.com. Who these million users are, how and when they were surveyed, whether they are all PayScale clients or a random group of individuals, and why none of this is mentioned in their study methodology is unknown. I can make the assumption that their data is probably coming from the “free personal salary report” they advertise on their website, but they got annoyed last time I made assumptions so I’ll refrain.
Most of the rest of PayScale’s response seems to be a closeted sales pitch, however they end it with the following statement: “We know the conclusion of the Gender Wage Gap study is controversial. It goes against what all of us have heard about the difference in wages between men and women for a long time.”
Remember, PayScale’s conclusion was that the wage gap between men and women in the US is smaller when you control for occupation than when you don’t. If they think this theory is controversial at all or that they are the first to ever think to control for occupation when comparing salaries they are delusional.
PayScale basically did a study on whatever data they had lying around, found some results that are similarish to the real research on that topic, then marketed the shit out of it while providing no actual background or methodology about how they got their results, resulting in free advertising for them on terrible news websites and providing fodder for MRAs who want to claim incorrectly that the gender wage gap is a myth. The only thing “controversial” about this study is the intellectual dishonesty of the company that funded it.
Featured photo by Jamie Bernstein