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Differences in Wages and Benefits at the Workplace Analytical Essay

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Updated: Mar 17th, 2022


Wages and benefits are quite imperative in the operations of an organisation. This is considering the fact that they affect the profits, staff motivation and employee turnover rate among other aspects. Various theorists throughout history have analysed factors that influence wages and benefits in organizations.

Davis and Moore argue that staffs always desire rewards and they try to acquire knowledge and skills to achieve this desire. It is based on social stratification focuses on training and talent of staffs in relation to rewards given at the workplace.

The two argue that functional importance is not a big contributor to rewards as compared to training and talent of employees. In this case, the two tend to link differences in wages to classical economics. Other scholars however find this theory to be quite controversial in nature. This paper shows clearly that the economic system, occupational segregation, unionization and geography play a great role on wages and benefits in an organisation. (Maddison, 1995)

Conflict theory

Karl Marx’s conflict theory is based on capitalism, exploitation and surplus value. He asserts that the society consists of diverse social classes and individuals whose wealth or materials differ. This results in poor and rich people in the society. This results in wealthy having more power over the poor.

The wealthy then tend to exploit the poor who are powerless. The high social class in the society therefore use economics and force to exploit the low class people. (Marx, 1971)

According to Marx, a society that is capitalist in nature is run by capital therein. That is materials, factories, money, tools and machines. These are usually owned by the wealthy that form a small percentage of the population. This results in two social classes that oppose each other.

These are proletariat or workers and bourgeoisie or people who own capital. The workers’ only asset is their labor time that the capitalists buy. This results in bourgeoisie exploiting workers by paying them less wages and making massive profits. (Marx, 1971)

Unionisation mediates wages through having collective bargaining of workers’ grievances to employers. Collective bargaining power is normally achieved through using trade unions. The elasticity of demand for labor leads to the decline in bargaining power relating to overall distribution of rent. This is more so in organisations that have supernormal profits. (Marx, 1971)

The use of trade unions is known to play a great role in helping workers have their salaries and wages improved. Unionisation is known to give workers bargaining power over issues such as wages with employers. In a capitalist system, workers are highly exploited by being given small wages while owners of capital make huge profits. Unionisation therefore gives workers the voice and platform to be heard by the capitalists who are the employers. (Marx, 1971)


Income is a factor that has been known to influence working conditions across the globe. In this case, majority of employers tend to shun away from employing low income people. This was more so related to blacks who were highly disadvantaged even when hired. In places like Chicago, only white men would be given managerial positions claiming that they are skilled compared to their low class black counterparts.

In this case, the working conditions for the low income people tend to be quite difficult up to date. They are given cleaning jobs and made to work for many hours compared to the top management. This is despite the fact that they are paid far much less than managerial team. This is considering the fact that they have less capital (money) and therefore less bargaining power. This is evident in western nations such as United States. (Goesling, 2001)

Research shows that Data in global arena shows disparities in working hours between nations. Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and France are known to have few working hours. This is compared to countries like Korea, Mexico, Czech Republic and Japan. These disparities still exist between nations pertaining to working hours and income of staffs.

It is however evident that in some nations, the managerial team works longer hours and earns more. This is compared to other staffs that work for few hours and earn less. (Goesling, 2001)

Occupational segregations

According to Wilson, occupational segregations have been noted throughout history in diverse nations. Initially the people with color were highly segregated from management jobs.

Employers claimed that they were not skilled, had poor grammar and spoken language. This segregation broadened further to gender aspects. This is with women being denied some positions within organisations even in cases where they are well qualified. (Wilson, 1987)

Managerial positions in organisations could not be given to women but to the men. In the hotel industry, occupations such as waitresses are given t women and that is why they are highly dominated by female gender. This includes cleaning and cooking jobs in the hotel industry.

The top parts of organisational structure are dominated by men and lower by women. Occupations such as air hostess and nursing are dominated by women. In this case, they ted to receive less pay and benefits when compared to male dominated occupations such as doctors, engineers and pilots. (Wilson, 1987)


Analysis of the above information shows a real picture of social issues at the working environment. Karl Marx’s conflict theory is still applicable to date. There are still rifts between workers and employers with the former trying to oppress the later through small wages. This goes further with workers working for long hours and getting peanuts for the job dome.

The concept of capitalism and exploitation are quite relevant even in the twenty first century. Initially, trade unions tried to help through collective bargaining power. With time, employers have learnt strategies of facing out unionisation within their organisation. The terms of employment have continued to shift from permanent to temporary or contract basis.

There continues to be disparities in working hours in different nations. This also relates to wages related to working hours. This has resulted in a situation where staffs have more than one job in order to make ends meet. It is common to find people having three to four jobs so as to earn more.

Occupational segregation has gone through a paradigm shift. This is with female gender gaining skills equal to male counterparts. This has resulted in women slowly taking up occupations totally thought to be masculine in nature. These include engineers, pilots, doctors and even mechanics.

Although Davis and Moore’s theory was highly deemed to be controversial, it is quite relevant in the twenty first century. Future occupation is highly affected by the aspects of training and talent. This is considering the fact that current market bases wages and benefits on one’s training, acquired skills and talent.

This calls for more search for knowledge and skills so as to produce quality services and products in the future occupation. This will therefore narrow down to better salaries and wages and even more bargaining power. The theories on occupational segregations may not matter more in future occupations as one’s skills play a greater role in securing employment.

This is with initiation of organisations that fight for women’s rights, government policies and organisational policies on equal employment opportunities for all despite gender, age, race or color. It is therefore quite imperative for one to acquire relevant skills, training and knowledge if he or she desires to have better wages and benefits at work.


In conclusion, there are various theories that try to explain differences in payment of wages and benefits at the workplace. Theorists such as Davis and Moore argue that training and talent are key players in earnings. Karl Marx’s conflict theory shows two social classes of rich and poor.

This is with rich having power and exploiting the poor through small wages. Unionisation played a key role in increasing workers’ bargaining power but is slowly being faced out. It is therefore quite essential that all people strive to acquire training and talent so as to have better wages as this is what counts in the current job market.


Goesling, B. (2001): Changing income inequalities within and between nations; New evidence; American sociological review 66; 745-761

Maddison, A. (1995): Monitoring the World Economy; 1820-1992; Paris; OECD

Marx, K. (1971): Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy; States and Social Revolutions; A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China; New York; Cambridge University Press

Wilson W. (1987): The truly disadvantaged; The inner city, the underclass and public policy; Chicago; University of Chicago Press

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