Copyright TFL 2018

We’re told that women earn up to 43% less at Barclays than men do. We’re also told that women are paid about half what men are at that same bank, Barclays. Only one of these two statements is true. The one which is true being an interesting revelation of where this screaming match about the gender pay gap is going wrong.

We don’t in fact have a gender pay gap in this modern world. We do have an earnings gap. The two are not the same thing, not at all.

The BBC gets the headline right:

Women earn up to 43% less at Barclays

The Telegraph is on the wrong side of this:

Barclays has been criticised for a “shocking” gender pay gap at its investment bank, where women are paid half as much as men on average.

The high street bank published gender pay gap figures for the first time as part of its annual report today.

At its international business – which includes large investment banking operations in the UK and US – the gender pay gap was 48pc. For bonuses this stretched to 79pc.

“For this to be the case in 2018 is shocking,” said Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury select committee.

Ms Morgan hinted she may call Barclays to give evidence to the Treasury committee as part of its ongoing inquiry into women in finance.

Nicky Morgan is of course flapping gums to no good intent, as usual.

The Guardian gets it wrong as well:

Barclays reveals big gender pay gaps across UK banking group
International division’s median hourly pay gap was 43.5% with 73% gap for bonuses, report says

Paying men and women different amounts – different simply because they are male or female at least – for doing the same job is illegal and has been for some decades now. Perhaps more importantly, it’s been illegal in a society as litigious as the US for some decades now and we don’t see some huge number of civil suits alleging such behaviour. That’s a pretty good indication that it’s not happening – which hungry lawyer wouldn’t pick up an easy 30% of the settlement if it were happening? No, what we’ve got is an earnings gap and it’s there because men and women are, on average, doing different jobs. As we’ve pointed out before:

UK companies now report their internal pay gaps. The truth of which is that, in one example, pilots get what pilots get, stewards stewards. There are more male pilots, more female stewards and that’s all.

Within an international investment bank there are more men doing the banking and more women doing the support roles.

Shrug.

Hey, perhaps society shouldn’t be organised this way, maybe we should all climb back up the trees, who knows? But we’ve not got a gender pay gap at all, we’ve a gender earnings gap. One that comes about because the jobs that people do aren’t equally distributed across the two genders (or however many we’re supposed to think there are these days). And different jobs are going to lead to different pay while we still have any pretence at being a market economy. Given the penury which a non-market economy produces this is just one of those problems which the rest of us are going to have to suck up.