Sunday, May 04, 2014

New Definition of Number One

Overheard on the radio today: You're number one, behind a Pilatus. The pilot didn't seem to have a problem with that kind of counting.

Also overheard, as I was walking into an FBO, a discussion of hiring a new pilot, they were discussing how much to offer. "Ah," said one, "We'll just get them to write up the requirements and see if we can get a guy." "Or a woman," I said, my trajectory through the room such that I was right beside them right at the moment this needed to be said. They agreed completely, and then asked me how much I thought they should pay a Pilatus captain. "It depends on so many things..." I waffled.

"Like whether we hire a woman or not," joked the guy, and I raised a boot as if to kick him the head and then passed by. A pilot doesn't pause long on the route from cockpit to washroom after a flight. The sad thing is that he's right. It's harder for women to get jobs in aviation, so when one is available we'll accept it at lower pay than a man would, and stay longer, because it's harder for us to get the next job too. Men know this, and it's one of the reasons men protest the hiring of women and minorities. We lower the wages. One we do it just by existing: people added to the existing number of white men being available in the labour pool means that there is more supply of labour, so wages go down purely by supply and demand. And then we do it by being hungry. We'll take that lowball job offer. Men can't keep us out of the labour force, so the only way you can fix this and be sure that we and you are hired on merit is to make sure we're paid the same for the same experience and duties.

'Cause apparently in aviation you can be number one right behind someone else.


Majroj said...

Anyone say "Union"?

As a "guy" really can't say much more. I firmly believe in equal pay for equal work and a progressive tax on people making more than a zillion times what their lowest paid member of their mostly part-time, unbenefitted work force makes.

Frank Ch. Eigler said...

"so when one is available we [women will] accept it at lower pay than a man would, and stay longer,"

The natural consequence would seem to be that an enlightened manager would find such employees more valuable, and wish to hire more, not fewer.

"the only way you can fix this and be sure that we and you are hired on merit is to make sure we're paid the same for the same experience and duties"

That is, union or state control of pay? There is much room for unintended consequences there.

Aviatrix said...

Exactly. If you look around you will find little diversity enclaves of non-union pilots with managers who can do the math. It's not a coincidence that I've worked for two employers in a row with no young white males in the cockpits.

Aviatrix said...

Unions can, and have been, used to drive out or keep out diversity. I can't find the reference right now but a pioneering female airline pilot was excluded from her company's union. And none of my readers lives in a box that excludes knowledge of institutionalized racism that has long hampered access by non-whites to education, jobs and other opportunities.

Sarah said...

It was Helen Richey, I believe. She flew in 1934 ( Ford Trimotor ) but only for about a dozen trips. It was mostly a publicity stunt. She found the reception and restrictions so unpleasant she quit after 10 months.

Anonymous said...

We've made progress, gotten a lot of it 'more right,' the the results remain imperfect. In a former life I often preferred to hire women for critical positions. Why? They tended to be more reliable in a crunch. The downside: Gawd, they sure complained a lot! I guess little has really changed.

Anonymous said...

As a white male (in a country where 'mainstream' is white, heterosexual, male and whatnot), I recently went through the experience of reducing my hours at work in an engineering job to have more time with my son who came into the family half a year ago. My company even has flyers titled "Job and Family", printed in colors and on glossy paper. Lessons learned:

Even though my wife and I try to share the effort of taking care of our son and in doing so, put about equal headaches on our respective employers, there is little complaining when a woman reduces her work-workload in favor of her family-workload and is back in her job after a year. There is much complaining and little support when a man wants to stay away from work for approximately the same amount of time, and plans to work part-time, sharing the family duties with his wife. The question is raised why it is important for his wife to get back into her job, even though her pay is only about half compared to his.

After all this has sounded like women have it wonderful and are supported when it comes to parental leave, and even though more glossy paper is used for colorful flyers saying the company encourages women in STEM/MINT
jobs, I do believe that some managers are reluctant to hire women; and this is most obvious when you look at how few job offers are listed for part-time positions; for office work where all it takes to keep the wheels turning is a bit more careful planning when it comes to meetings, deadlines and the everday project panic. If I am told projects can't be planned with my participation as a less-than-full-time employee, how are my chances of applying somewhere else, being fully qualified and experienced, but available for 30 hours a week only? If I was actually looking for another job, how likeley were I to accept sub-standard pay for the rare offer that is open as part-time? How much is this, by far, more than an experiment in thoughts for anyone who really needs a part-time job? How many of this group happen to be women?

I believe unions wouldn't have helped much. Laws did help, a bit, so far. It's a slow process that gains momentum with everyone trying to do something out of the mainstream while applying skill and keeping the silver shined.

-zb (not sure if a nickname displays automatically, let's try.)

Aviatrix said...

So interesting. I love that my readers have different opinions and experiences here, and can discuss them civilly. Thank you.