Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fuzzy Math

Okay, can anyone tell me what's wrong with's Mom Salary Wizard?

A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work, an amount similar to a top U.S. ad executive, a marketing director or a judge, according to a study released on Wednesday.

A mother who works outside the home would earn an extra $85,876 annually on top of her actual wages for the work she does at home, according to the study by Waltham, Massachusetts-based compensation experts

To reach the projected pay figures, the survey calculated the earning power of the 10 jobs respondents said most closely comprise a mother's role -- housekeeper, day-care teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive and psychologist.

Two errors stand out:

  • Cook, laundry machine operator, janitor, and facilities manager are counted as separate jobs. These are all functions of the housekeeper position.
  • Some moms are married, and some are not. One who shares the executive spot with someone else would make less than a sole executive.

The "Mom paycheck" salary wizard eventually leads to a page which lists the typical hours per week in which each of the job functions are performed. This page reveals a third problem with methodology. The hours worked in the Computer Operator I position is 7.2 hours for a working mom and 9.1 hours for a stay-at-home mom. How much of this computer time is work? Most computer use at home is recreational. I have a hard time believing that moms - or most people - do actual work functions on a home computer for over an hour a day.

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