SANTA FE ― State Auditor Tim Keller released the first in-depth review of New Mexico’s state vendor pay equity reports.
An executive order from 2009 requires vendors who do business with state agencies to submit a pay equity report when bidding for contracts, as part of a broader effort to identify pay gaps in New Mexico. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) collected and reviewed the reports to provide a window into wage gaps, representation gaps, and compliance with state law.
“A good faith effort nearly a decade ago to reduce pay gaps in state government and state contracting led to hundreds of pay equity reports buried in procurement files,” Keller said. “By compiling and reviewing this information, we are finally getting a snapshot of how the companies bidding on state contracts are doing when it comes to closing the wage gap between men and women. Sadly, we found persistent wage gaps and drastic underreporting to this day. There is still so much progress to be made and at the same time, no effort to enforce the order to close wage gaps.”
The OSA found the following:
- Persistent wage gaps. The largest wage gap of 74 cents to the dollar is in the job category of “officers and managers” such as department heads. The lowest wage gap of 90 cents to the dollar is in the category of “service workers” like hospital attendants, guards, and janitors. Gender representation.
- Overall, the total workforce was almost balanced, with females representing 46 percent of all reported employees. However, representation in different fields varies, with women holding 78 percent of office and administrative support positions and only 3 percent of skilled craft workers.
- Low compliance rate. The OSA’s work revealed drastic underreporting, as vendors submitted only 267 reports during the six-year period of 2011 to 2016, with fewer than 10 reports being submitted in three of those years. Of the forms OSA received, many had missing or incorrect data.
“In 2009, this first-in-the-nation initiative was ordered to help address the wage gap in New Mexico state government and state contracting,” said Dr. Martha Burk, gender pay equity expert and Director of the New Mexico Pay Equity Initiative. “Unfortunately, it has since been allowed to languish with shameful underreporting and lack of enforcement. State Auditor Tim Keller’s report finally shines a light on pay equity and we are hopeful it will continue to be given the priority it deserves.”
The OSA’s report lists best practices and recommendations for pay equity reporting data to better inform the state’s efforts to close the wage gap. The full Pay Equity Vendor Report is available here: https://www.saonm.org/media/uploads/Pay_EquityTransparency_Report_for_WEB.pdf