BY PAUL A. SPECHT
The gender pay gap is wider in Wake County than in two comparable counties across the nation, according to a recent report.
Women in Wake earn up to 41 percent less than their male colleagues who have the same level of education, says the report completed by the county’s Task Force on Employment and Wage Issues for Women. The gap is larger than in Travis County, Texas, home to Austin, and Suffolk County, Mass., home to Boston.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners created the task force earlier this year to consider ways to narrow the wage gap. On Monday, the group presented its findings, including data from 25 organizations with a total of 25,000 employees.
Many companies would offer women better pay and time-off policies if they realized how the change could help retain talented employees, said Jackie Terry Hughes, who runs JTH Law in Raleigh and served on the task force.
“A large part of this is education,” she said. “I don’t think enough organizations and companies look under their hood (and say) ‘Could I be the problem?’ ”
The task force said the county should create a “Wake Invests in Women” collaborative based at Wake Technical Community College to host workshops with local businesses about the benefits of offering flexible work schedules and to teach women how to negotiate with their employers for better pay.