Women struggle to break $50K/$100K pay barriers

Men are three times as Likely as Women to Earn Six Figures, twice as Likely to Earn $50,000 or More
By Career Builders

CHICAGO – March 23, 2011 – A new study from CareerBuilder shows perceptions of unequal pay and career advancement opportunities are increasing in the workplace. Thirty-eight percent of female workers said they feel they are paid less than male counterparts with the same skills and experience, up from 34 percent in 2008 when the survey was last conducted, and up from 31 percent in 2003. Thirty-nine percent of female workers feel men have more career advancement opportunities within their organizations, up from 26 percent in 2008. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 15 to December 2, 2010, included 2,274 male workers and 1,636 female workers nationwide.

Perceptions are reflecting reality. Comparing salaries, 45 percent of men surveyed reported they make $50,000 or more, compared to 24 percent of women. Ten percent of men make $100,000 or more, compared to just 3 percent of women. On the other end of the pay scale, 40 percent of women reported they make $35,000 or less compared to 24 percent of men.

In terms of upward mobility, 30 percent of men surveyed said they hold a management position compared to 21 percent of women. Nearly half (49 percent) of women said they are in clerical or administrative roles compared to 25 percent of men.

Women also reported a difference in the amount of kudos given to members of the opposite sex. Thirty-six percent of women reported that men receive more recognition for their accomplishments than women do within their organizations.

“While many companies are working toward greater equality in all measures of the workplace, a significant disparity still exists,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Workers in general are more aware of average compensation levels. They are also more vocal about shortcomings they believe exist when it comes to their pay and title, especially coming off of a recession when workloads and hours largely increased.”

More than one-third of women (35 percent) attributed the disparity in pay and career advancement to the fact that they don’t rub elbows or schmooze with management as much as men. Twenty-two percent said it was a simple case of management showing favoritism to the opposite sex while 16 percent acknowledged that their male counterpart had been with the company longer.

The Man’s Perspective
From the male point of view, 84 percent of men feel men and women with the same qualifications are paid the same within their organizations and 77 percent believe the career advancement opportunities are equal for both genders.

Compared to the previous study in 2008, less men reported that female counterparts earn more than them, but more men feel women have an advantage when it comes to climbing the company ladder. Six percent of men said they feel they are paid less than their female counterparts, down from 11 percent in 2008. Seventeen percent of men feel women have more career advancement opportunities, up from 12 percent in 2008. Eighteen percent of men said women receive more recognition for their accomplishments than men do within their organizations.

When asked what annoyed them most about the opposite sex in the office, men said women tend to gossip or become too emotional or sensitive. Women said men can be too arrogant, say inappropriate comments and don’t take female co-workers seriously.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,910 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 15 and December 2, 2010 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 3,910, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.57 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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