Citigroup Pays Women 71 Percent of What Men Earn, and I’m Totally Okay with that

I believe in equal pay for equal work, which is why I’m totally okay with Citigroup’s announcement that, after careful study, the median pay for women is 71 percent of the median pay for men. (Minorities earn 93 percent of what white men earn.) 

If that sounds bizarre to you, you need to think back to sixth-grade math where you learned the term “median.” The median is simply the middle number. So if you have 11 people, and you line them up by pay, whatever person number 6 earns is the median pay of that group. It can give you some idea of how things work, but it’s not really the most helpful of numbers. This is especially true when you are looking at salary differences.

Citigroup, for instance, has call centers. I’m pretty darn sure the people I call (full disclosure: I have a Citibank credit card) when I need to change my address earn a lot less than the Senior VP of Finance at Citigroup HQ. And that’s okay.

To keep reading, click here: Citigroup Pays Women 71 Percent of What Men Earn, and I’m Totally Okay with that

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11 thoughts on “Citigroup Pays Women 71 Percent of What Men Earn, and I’m Totally Okay with that

  1. A lot of people are cool with that; that’s part of the problem. So is using gender stereotypes and straw man arguments to justify institutionalized discrimination. If the figures showed that men in comparable positions only earned 99% of what women did, many of those “cool” people would be screaming bloody hell.

    1. “How do you get to these numbers in 3 years without some serious discrimination against the men who currently hold these jobs and some serious unprepared promotions for the women they want to place in these roles.”

      I’m with granny bunny on this. Sure Citibank has some highly specialized positions that require oh-so-special skills. But the vast majority of positions aren’t rocket science. And women can learn to do them as well as men can. I doubt that the hiring managers at Citi are lying awake nights worried over finding the single best human on the planet to manage a call center or run a card-producing plant or even provide HR support. For most jobs at Citi there are likely dozens of perfectly well qualified candidates.

      And we often choose candidates for other reasons than pure qualifications. We seek diverse candidates because we know a diverse workforce, while arguably less comfortable to manage, brings many benefits to the table such as points of view and ways of thinking.

      And there’s no reason, in a field of qualified candidates, not to choose women sometimes.

    2. It would be shocking if it were at 100 percent. And there are plenty of times women earn more than men and no one screams.

      99 percent for two separate groups is pretty darn good. I wouldn’t be surprised if next time you look at the numbers is 101 and then fluctuates back.

  2. grannybunny — Seriously? If the difference between male and female salaries is 1% and the next reporting period shows women making 1% more than men, and then back and forth like that over some period of time, do you seriously think whoever is lower is really going to get bent out of shape? A 10% difference, a 25% difference, absolutely challenge it, but 1%, come on … seriously?

    Dorothy — but the difference between men and women DOING THE SAME WORK is 1% as in almost absolutely equal pay for equal work. It seems like you’re comparing apples and oranges here: pay equality versus diversity hiring. If I read Suzanne’s article correctly, it appears that Citigroup would pay all their diversity hires (i.e., everyone, since everyone must be measured to determine diversity) equally (or at least as equally as practical without hiring a whole accounting division to ensure that pay was equal within 99,99998%)

  3. I am totally with you on this. Most of my firm’s exec’s are male because women are not in the field until a decade ago. But now, half of my college hires are females. Still, women often take 4-6 months off when they have babies, they work part time, and they are typically the parent who misses work for kid illnesses and activities. And, yes, I expect that to have an effect on wages and upward mobility. Equal pay for equal work.

  4. I’m very confused as to why the author thinks Citigroup would promote unqualified women and minorities? The case is more likely that qualified women and minorities are being passed over and with intentional focus, the workplace can become diverse. The “discrimination” against men is not real and it’s borderline offensive to assume that there are no other than white males qualified for these positions.

    1. LH Holdings, I must respectfully disagree with you that “discrimination against men is not real”.

      Please see the following article from this very website:

      and there was another article (I believe on this website) about a non-profit whose job ad stated something similar to “only minorities should apply”.

      So, while it may not be systematic, discrimination against men does exist.

    2. I’m really surprised and perturbed by the perspective that seems expressed in this post – that promoting women and POC would mean promoting people who are underqualified. There’s nothing to say that there aren’t qualified folks of all races, genders, etc. out there for these roles.

      Given the breakdown on the numbers, I’m in agreement that it’s positive that men and women are paid equally for equal work. But men and women should also have access to the same leadership positions and promotion opportunities, and imbalance at the top clearly means that this isn’t happening.

      1. atgo, if you’ll note I pointed out that in these types of analyses time in position is one of the variables. If women and POC aren’t being promoted they’ll have a much longer time in position and the salary differences would reflect that.

        Citigroup hasn’t released their formulas (nor would I expect them to), but I would be shocked if they didn’t take time in position into consideration.

        From an anecdotal standpoint, I’ve seen this happen–promoting someone who is not ready so that diversity numbers look good. It ultimately destroys the career of the promoted person. It’s a bad,bad thing.

        1. However, you seem to take no notice of the fact that white men who are unqualified are also promoted and that although many minorities have longer tenure, they are often started at lower salaries. However, I’m not surprised at your continued oversight of this issue as it is a constant theme in your column.

  5. Assuming the self-reported 99% number is true, AND it is true for all jobs within the company, then yea, women at Cittigroup earn about the same as men for the same work.
    However, in that case the low median of 71% means woman are excluded from the higher paying jobs. Not promoting a women into a role she is not ready for is OK. But the same should apply to men.

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