How much do female investigators earn compared to their male counterparts? Susanna Speier investigates.
by Susanna Speier
You may not even realize that Tuesday, April 4 was Equal Pay Day! It’s not a holiday, as such, but a day created by the National Committee on Pay Equality in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between what men and women earn in the United States.
Working with Sheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit Lean In foundation, retail stores across the country offered a 20% discount; Lyft’s CEO Logan Green launched an Equal Pay Day partnership in which they agreed to donate 20% of all ride fares to raise awareness, to amplify the fact that women earn 80 cents to the dollar that every man earns for the same job.
Equal Pay Day was observed by governors and representatives as well as celebrities ranging from Jennifer Lawrence to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Where does Equal Pay Day fall for the little guy, though? To be more specific, are female private detectives earning eighty cents for every dollar a man earns, for the exact same assignments in the exact same industry?
I spoke with John Jones, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by phone, and he reviewed the private investigator industry with me. I learned that while there isn’t actual Bureau of Labor Statistics data on gender wage disparity in the private investigator industry, the Current Population Survey (CPS) lists occupations by gender for full-time wage and salary workers by grouping them into larger categories. Private investigator was listed there under protective service occupations. In other words, “private detectives and investigators” is a sub category of a larger one that does provide gender disparity data.
What I learned was that in the larger “protective services” category, men averaged $854 per week, whereas women only averaged $688—for work under the Protective Service Occupations umbrella.
Worth noting is that the category includes, but is not limited to, correctional officers, police, fire fighters, bailiffs, jailers, criminal investigators, fish and game wardens, transit and railroad police, animal control, security guards, crossing guards, life guards and transportation security screeners as well as private detectives and investigators.
Directing my attention to BLS’ TED: The Economic Daily, Johns showed me the national data, reported in 2014, that averaged out to be the 83% of what women are earning on the dollar of what every man earns. At 69.6% on the dollar of what men in the Protective Service Occupations are earning, women in Protective Service Occupations suffer from an even larger salary disparity than the national average.
My investigation didn’t nail down any definite answers, but the data I did find pointed to the troubling likelihood that women who serve and protect—and investigate—most likely bring home a smaller paycheck than their male colleagues. And that simply should not be.
About the Author:
Susanna Speier is a blogger for Ross Investigators of Denver, Colorado, which provides investigation services for attorneys and citizens and conducts workplace investigations for businesses. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Speier is also a freelancer for hire and can be reached through Linkedin.