Despite decades long efforts for equal rights for everyone, a sizeable pay gap still exists in the U.S. with women losing tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to their male counterparts over the life of their career. For women of color working full time that wage gap is even larger. And while inroads have been made to raise the minimum wage in some states, much more needs to be done to close the gap between men and women’s salary. “Where you go to work is one of the most important decisions you make in life,” said Glassdoor co-founder and CEO Robert Hohman when kicking off Glassdoor’s Pay Equality Roundtable earlier today on Equal Pay Day. “Equality at work isn’t an employee right, it’s a human right.”
Just hours ago, Glassdoor brought together leaders and experts including presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, Glassdoor’s Hohman, Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, the executive director of The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, Dan Henkle, president, Gap Foundation, Megan Rapinoe, World Cup Champion & Olympic Gold Medalist and Tracy Sturdivant, co-founder & co-executive director of Make It Work to discuss the problem of pay inequality and potential solutions to bridge the gap between what men and women earn for the same job. Glassdoor’s Hohman has long been a champion of transparency in the workplace and believes that same transparency applied to salaries can combat the ever persistent wage gap where women make 76 cents to every dollar men earn, according to recent Glassdoor research based on more than half a million salary reports.
Critics may be quick to dismiss the gender pay gap, arguing it isn’t real. But the research from Glassdoor Economic Research underscores just how real the problem is. It shows that women make 5.4 percent less than men in the U.S. – and this is when controls are even factored in like education, company, occupation, years of experience, location and more.
Career Choice, Biases Causing a Gender Gap
When it comes to what is causing this gender pay gap, there are many culprits from what Hohman calls career sorting to unintentional and intentional bias against women. According to Hohman, women often are pushed towards careers that pay less through various social pressures and stigmas. According to the Glassdoor research in the U.S., occupation and industry sorting accounts for 54 percent of the overall pay gap and is the largest factor. “While it is explainable, it’s not justifiable,” says Hohman, noting there are subtle and not so subtle signals that women receive, encouraging them to avoid technical fields, even though those are the fields that pay more money over time. But in addition to women choosing careers that may not earn them a high salary, there is bias against women that results in this gender pay gap. “Every way you slice it there’s unintentional and rare cases of intentional biases. And that needs to change,” says Hohman.
Employers Play a Role in Closing the Gap
Companies may be paying their employees differently based on their gender, but by doing so, they are hurting their chances of recruiting and retaining top talent at a time when talent wars are breaking out around the country and unemployment is hovering at an eight year low. According to Glassdoor’s research on pay inequality, nine out of ten men and women support equal pay for equal work, with six in ten saying they wouldn’t work for a company if they knew it paid its employees unfairly. “From a self-interest stand point in the war for talent, many industries are in a constant battle to get the best and smartest people and you are cutting off access and the ability to do that, particularly in the long term, if you are not addressing this problem,” says Hohman.
According to Hohman, about 2,000 employers have come to Glassdoor to take the equal pay pledge, committing to look at their pay and ensure employees are getting paid fairly for their job. Hohman noted that in his years at Glassdoor, he has never met a CEO or manager who didn’t believe in equal pay for everyone, but what often happens is that possible pay inequality figures don’t resonate, as some leaders brush it off as explainable. But taking the time to look at the salaries of all the employees can be eye opening. “It’s hard to look at the same people with similar jobs, but it rewarding,” says Hohman.
Transparency Not Going Away Anytime Soon
At the end of the day, one of the solutions to this gender gap pay is more transparency. It’s what Glassdoor is about and is one of those things that is only going to increase as employees are more empowered by the information they can access and share. Companies that ignore this trend stand to lose. Research shows that by adopting salary transparency, it can aid in eliminating hard-to justify gender pay gaps and go a long way in creating a fair balance between men and women’s pay. “It’s challenging, but a totally solvable problem,” says Hohman. “Companies that embrace it will have disproportionate advantages when it comes to hiring in the future.”
Are you ready to help increase salary transparency? Share your salary on Glassdoor anonymously. #ShareYourPay
Video Replay: Watch the entire Glassdoor Roundtable Discussion and learn more about what can be done to reach pay equality.
Photo Credit: Mark Von Holden, AP for Glassdoor