(St. Joseph,MO) On November 6, Missourians voted to increase the state minimum wage over the next five years, but it will not impact the overall gender pay gap.
Jeanette Holland teaches economics at Missouri Western State University and said the changes to minimum wage will most likely only impact unskilled workers.
“It will impact some employers of very unskilled workers who are able to hire at minimum wage,”Holland said.“I don’t think for unskilled workers it makes any difference at all. Where you really see the gender pay gap is when you get into upper management level jobs. Those are high figure jobs usually and that’s something else I don’t think the minimum wage is going to impact.”
Holland said the biggest change for women in the workforce is attitude.
“In the past one of the biggest problems with women’s pay and men’s pay is men are used to, and taught to be aggressive, to demand a certain level of pay. Women have not been taught to be that aggressive, they are much more passive in their demands about what they want to be paid,”Holland said. “I think women are becoming much more vocal about what they deserve and what they should be paid.”
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the pay gap is slowly closing in with women making approximately 80 cents to every dollar men make. In Missouri there is a 21 cent difference between the average pay of men and women employed full-time.
The passage of Prop B does not require employers to increase compensation for employees already making above minimum wage, leaving a majority of skilled workers in the same pay scale.
“Businesses are not legally required to have any kind of pay parity. If they are legally required to raise minimum wage, then that’s all they are legally required to do,”Holland said.
Missouri’s minimum wage will gradually increase each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2023