How Do We Close the Gender Pay Gap?

How Do We Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic event that highlights the pay gap between men and women in the US. Equal Pay Day is held on a Tuesday, representing how far into the next week the average woman has to work to earn what the average man earned the week prior, and in early April to represent how much farther into this year she needs to work to earn as much as he did last year. While individual studies differ slightly, nearly all of them calculate the overall US gender pay gap at around 20 percent, meaning women earn roughly 80 cents to every man’s dollar. (It bears mentioning that these figures are significantly worse for women of color.)

To a significant extent, this gap reflects women being offered lower salaries than men for the same or similar work. Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman points to some recent research by Hired that suggests women are often being lowballed:

The majority (63%) of the time in the U.S., men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company, according to wage gap data and survey responses compiled by Hired. On average, these companies offer women 4% less than men for the same role, with some offering women up to 45% less. These numbers are likely due to unconscious bias, inconsistent pay practices, and paying new hires based on what they made in their previous role. “Our data found that 66% of the time, women are asking for less money–6% less on average–than men for the same role at the same company,” says Kelli Dragovich, senior vice president of people at Hired. Undervaluing themselves is part of the reason, she says, as 50% of female survey respondents said they experienced impostor syndrome most of the time.

However, even companies that pay men and women equally for equal work still have pay gaps, because women are often concentrated in professions with lower earning potential. Our recent research at CEB, now Gartner, finds that these group-to-group gaps account for most of the global gender pay gap of 27 percent, although 7.4 percentage points remain unexplained by factors like size, industry, geography, education, or experience.

The main cause of this larger pay gap is the sorting of women into lower-paying roles, or occupational segregation, Maggie Koerth-Baker explains at FiveThirtyEight. That doesn’t mean women are choosing to earn less money, however, and “the fact that certain industries are dominated by men or women — and that the men’s jobs pay more — has never just been about what qualifications an individual did or didn’t have, or how tough the job was to do”:

Read more

Study Highlights Occupational Gender Segregation in Management Roles

Study Highlights Occupational Gender Segregation in Management Roles

Using date from the US Census and American Community Survey, William Scarborough, a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a research assistant at the university’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, investigated how American women’s representation in management changed between 1980 and 2010, as well as gender segregation and gender wage gaps among managerial roles. Writing at the Harvard Business Review, Scarborough explains that he found “progressive change in one measure coupled with backward tendencies in others”:

First, the good news. Women’s representation in management is higher than it’s ever been. Of the nearly 4.5 million new jobs in management created since 1980, women have obtained the majority of them.

Second, the not-so-good news. The rise in women’s representation in management has been accompanied by a large increase in the occupational gender segregation of managers. In 1980 not a single management occupation was majority women. By 2010, however, we find that some occupations are female-dominated while others are male-dominated. Female managers are concentrated in fields that emphasize people-centered caring skills, while men are concentrated in fields dealing with production-centered skills.

Third, the bad news. The occupations where female managers were concentrated by 2010 were also those with the largest gender wage gaps.

Scarborough’s research points in the same direction as other studies on gender parity in corporate leadership, showing that despite the progress women have made at breaking through the glass ceiling, this progress has not gone as far as many men believe it has, with women getting passed up for promotions and, when they do break through, often channeled into staff roles with lower earning potential and without a clear path to the C-suite. These challenges are doubly daunting for women of color.

Read more