Posted at 4 p.m. May 3, 2017

It starts with a request: reporting of the salary study

Gender wage equality is a national topic that students in the Reporting and Newswriting class were assigned to report on. The class conducted a statistical analysis from the wages of Laramie County Community College’s employees to determine if a gender wage gap exists.

Jake Sherlock, LCCC’s Mass Media instructor, requested the data in December through a Freedom of Information Act request. The data was compiled by Jennifer Hooke, a specialist with Human Resources, over the business week of Jan. 11 to Jan 18. Some employees were going through a job-title change during that period and were not included.

Once the data was gathered, Sherlock got the help of Ann Murray, director of Institutional Research, to walk reporters through the process of accurately sorting and analyzing the data. The class agreed to look at the wages of full-time faculty, employees who are directors of a department or organization, deans, administrators who make up the President’s Cabinet, administrative assistants and custodians.

Each student took a group of employees after they were sorted to compare the wages of like-positions.

“I got the idea because it was an issue nationally. And in journalism, localizing a national story is a good thing,” Sherlock said. “I thought it was a good opportunity for education to teach the students about statistics.” Sherlock chose employees of LCCC specifically because it is in the student media’s coverage area.

“I originally made a request to Ann Murray’s office of Institutional Research. Ann asked me to file a formal Freedom of Information Act request with Public Relations. Human Resources provided the data,” Sherlock said.

Murray conducted her own analysis on the same data as the reporters to ensure the process was sound and found that there were no significant variations. Murray’s result also found a slight lean toward women employees making higher wages.

“We could have asked for a couple of variables a little bit differently,” Murray said. The data requested included all employees, their salary, their job title and their length of time with the college. The longevity portion of employment history with the school was not an accurate statistic to include into the data. The longevity of employees dates back to the employee’s initial hire and does not exclude any time away from LCCC.

The data showed that LCCC is an employer that hires women in key roles and pays, on average, the same wage that men earn. Sherlock said that this goes against some trends seen in higher education.


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