Gender Pay Gap Is Real . . . Unfortunately
(Listen to it here.)
Here are some of the questions about the gender pay gap that we’ve been receiving at our website, www.WomensMedia.com.
1. If A Woman Chooses Full-Time Employment, Does She Earn The Same As A Man?
Nope, not even close. Women who hold full-time, year-round jobs earn $0.78 for every $1 a man earns—in the same occupation and same level—meaning, the same job. This doesn’t include part-time workers, so that can’t be an explanation for what’s happening.
2. Do Women Earn Less Because They Work Less?
Nope. A look at the earnings of women and men who work 40 hours or more per week reveals that the wage gap may actually widen as the number of hours worked increases. Women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn; women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Furthermore, women may work longer to receive the promotions that provide access to higher pay. For example, among school principals, women have an average of 3 years longer as teachers than men do (Source: National Center for Education Statistics). So it’s hard to argue that women’s lower earnings are simply a result of women putting in fewer hours per week, or even fewer years than men.
3. If A Woman Earns A College Degree, Does She Earn The Same As A Man With The Same Degree?
Nope. These stats are equally sad. One year after graduation, female graduates working full time earn only 80% as much as male graduates earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69% as much. There’s a colorful chart by Professor Lips on WomensMedia showing what you can expect to earn with your education. In addition, a professional degree will only bring you 60% of what it brings a man, unless you perfect my Tip of the Day.
In case you’re wondering if there’s any variation between states, the answer is “Yes.” And the advice is: Go to school in Vermont where your degree will bring you 87% of what a man gets upon graduation. Don’t go to school in Louisiana where your degree brings you 65% of what a man gets. If the governor of Louisiana decided to give free tuition, room, and board to women, it wouldn’t make up for the difference! (Source: American Association of University Women)
4. If A Woman Negotiates Her Salary, Will She Earn The Same As A Man?
Nope again. When women negotiate their compensation, they don’t get the same results as men. When men negotiate an entry salary or a raise, they achieve on average a 4.3% increase from the initial figure. By contrast, when women negotiate, they realize only 2.7%. I’d rather have the 4.3%, wouldn’t you? My Tip of the Week deals with this. There’s something you can do.
5. If A Woman Moves Into A Typically Male Occupation, Does She Earn The Same As A Man?
Nope. There’s a gender-related wage gap in virtually every occupational category (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). Social psychologists have shown that as more women move into a male field, the perceived value of the occupation is lowered and the average wage begins sliding. To this I say, “Nurses, teachers, secretaries, get out there and invite more men into your fields and raise the perceived value.”
Or, I guess you could wait until society drops the Gender Handicap. I’m confident this will be happening in the near future. In the UK, it may be happening in the very near future as a new law goes into effect requiring companies to publish their pay by gender for every job. Let’s salute their Minister of Equality, Harriet Harman, who says it’s not fair that women are paid 20 per cent less than men when they made up half the workforce. “It’s pay discrimination and it should not be left to the individual woman to explain – it should be down to the employer to explain and to justify if pay is unequal,” she said.
My Women in Business Tip of the Week deals with negotiating your entry salary or a raise.
Here it is.
Women in Business Tip of the Week
Do your research first. Find out what the pay scale is for a particular job. You could look on the Internet, Salary.com or the Salary Center on Monster.com. Since men are making 20% more than women, don’t aim for the bottom of a pay range—that’s what women are probably making. You could also ask men indirectly, for example, “How much do you think the X position pays? And what skills do you think would garner higher pay?”
Now, when you go in to negotiate your pay, you’ll get less than a man, according to the studies. So, you need to negotiate harder than a man. Don’t expect to ask for an amount once. Assume you have to repeat the amount at least 3 times, adding another benefit to the company each time. You want to raise the thought in the manager’s mind that, “I expected her to give in. This is a woman who’s not backing down, and my department could sure use her skills.”
Make sure you’re the woman who won’t back down. Get busy and start practicing now!
Be sure to visit our site, www.WomensMedia.com to get Expert Advice for Working Women.
Website, WomensMedia, by Professor Hilary M. Lips, The Gender Wage Gap: Debunking the Rationalizations
Blog, Women’s Lunch Talk, by Nancy Clark, Gender Pay Gap: 80 Cents For Each Dollar A Man Makes Is Not Okay! Lots Of People Think Women’s Pay Is Creeping Up To Men’s—Lots Of People Are Wrong or listen to it here.
Podcast (always about 5 minutes), Working in Heels, by Nancy Clark, Is Negotiation Different For Women? or read it here.
Blog, Women’s Lunch Talk, by Nancy Clark, Be A Woman Who Makes As Much As A Man —Money Facts You Should Know About The Gender Pay Gap or listen to it here.
Blog, Women’s Lunch Talk, by Nancy Clark, Salary Negotiation: How To Ask For A Raise or listen to it here.
Website, WomensMedia, by Kolb, Williams, and Frohlinger, Confronting the Gender Gap in Wages.
Let’s follow the UK lead. In fact we could take it one step further—President Obama (BTW thank you for the Ledbetter bill)—by requiring companies to publish how long it takes to promote employees in each position—by gender. I believe the Slow-To-Promote-Women situation is often subconscious and not deliberate discrimination.
This happens over and over again at promotion time. It doesn’t matter if the boss is a man or a woman—we’ve all been doing this. The boss decides Jane doesn’t seem to be completely confident about handling a bigger job, and Jim is ready to take on whatever is necessary. Both Jane and Jim are equally talented and equally fearful about their abilities, but the woman shows or verbalizes her worries. She’s perceived as Not-Quite-Ready to be promoted.
Measuring the rate of promotion by gender—President Obama—will quickly show companies, and individual managers, where improvement is needed. Oh, I love these quick fixes.