Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that salary levels being paid to state employees warrant further study to address gender pay equity and competitiveness concerns.
A new state salary database for fiscal 2012 included nearly 60,000 employees with a combined payroll of $3.02 billion.
The state employed 32,788 women last year with a median salary of $45,765, which was about 91 percent of the median salary of $50,306 for 27,139 men employed in state government positions, according to a data analysis conducted by The Gazette.
“I think that’s something we want to continue to look at and work on,” Branstad told reporters during his weekly news conference, noting that he has named a number of women to leadership positions in state government. “I would be interested in taking a look at that to see if there are some other adjustments or changes that we need to make.”
The governor also pointed to a salary review commissioned by the state Department of Administrative Services that found that overall state pay on average was competitive with similar positions in other states and the private sector, but indicated that “base” pay for some Iowa employees in executive branch positions was nearly 18 percent higher than comparative groups. He said the data landed between two outside studies by separate conservative and liberal think tanks groups that found disparities in state government compensation.
“I think we need to look at the whole salary structure in state government,” said Branstad, who will begin talks with state employee unions next month on new two-year agreements slated to take effect July 1, 2013.
“We want to make sure that we’re fair, we’re competitive and that we look at how we can effectively compete with other states and with the private sector,” the governor said.
“We need to review and analyze and determine what makes the most sense and how we can be competitive, but also fair to our employees in the process and, obviously, that information I think will just increase our chances of making the best and most informed decisions when it comes to setting salaries and also negotiating them through the collective bargaining process,” he added.