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Featured10.24.14

The Gender Wage Gap Is As Wide As Ever

We’re not getting closer to pay parity, but the industries that have the biggest wage gaps in the U.S. and Europe will surprise you.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s advice that women shouldn’t ask for raises (he subsequently apologized), employment website Monster released data on the wage gaps between genders in the United States and Europe.

The Monster Wage Index report in conjunction with the WageIndicator Foundation uncovered some major disparities. For starters, the study found that overall, the average man earns as much as 29% more than a woman. It’s a stat that’s become familiar, thanks to similar Census Bureau data that indicates the average woman working full time made nearly 22% less than her male counterpart in 2013, the equivalent of 78.3 cents on every dollar. When you think about the fact that women (mothers in particular) are either the sole or primary source of income in as much as 40% of households in the U.S. alone, that becomes a more disturbing trend.

Likewise we know that women are woefully underrepresented in executive positions — holding only one-fifth of those jobs in the United States, according to Infogroup Targeting Solutions — but even when they do take the lead, men in supervisory positions make up to 42% more than their female counterparts. It’s a similar story in the UK where female workers earn 22% lower wages on average and only receive a 22% raise when promoted to a supervisor role while their male earn more than 40% higher wages than their non-supervisor counterparts. Spain and Germany posted similar results.

This varies according to industry, according to the Monster report. The biggest average disparities were in the following sectors across the U.S., UK, Spain and Germany:

  • Healthcare: females earn 34% less
  • Finance & Insurance: females earn 35% less
  • Legal: females earn 40% less
  • Education & Research: females earn 33% less

Joanie Courtney, senior vice president, Market Development at Monster, tells Mid-Market Pulse that employers need to take a closer look at their pay practices in order to begin to reach parity between their male and female staff. She suggests beginning by analyzing current payrolls to look for disparities in occupations by gender.

“Are they paying women less than their male counterparts?” she asks, “If so, they need to determine how they plan to address any discrepancies moving forward.” If there are internal discrepancies, companies may need to make some adjustments, she says. “In addition, they should review their salary guidelines for all positions and make sure they have the right internal processes in place to ensure equal pay,” Courtney explains. “Of course, employers should get expert pay, human resource and legal advice to make sure they have a fair and equal program in place for all employees,” she adds.

Martin Kahanec, PhD., scientific director of CELSI and currently visiting research fellow at Harvard University’s Labor and Worklife Program, said in a statement, “It is important that employers ensure that all employees are being justly compensated for equal work. Equal opportunities to both genders can work only if employers enable men and women to reconcile their careers with family lives equitably. In doing so, companies will see happier employees and an increased retention of top talent.”

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