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Women think they earn less than their male co-workers — and they’re right

Do your co-workers earn more money than you?

How you answer probably depends on your gender. And the accuracy of that answer also depends on your gender.

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, employers asked workers if they thought their colleagues of the opposite sex earned more or less than them and how they viewed their opportunities for advancement.

From the women’s perspective:

-38 percent feel they earn less than their male counterparts
-39 percent believe men have more opportunities to advance their career
-36 percent believe men receive more recognition for accomplishments
-35 percent believe their decision not to rub elbows with upper management (while the men are doing it) is the reason for the pay and advancement disparity
-22 percent cited favoritism toward men as the reason for the income and advancement differences

From the men’s perspective:
-84 percent believe males and females with the same qualifications are paid the same
-72 percent believe opportunities for advancement are the same for both genders
-6 percent believe they are paid less than their female counterparts
-17 percent believe women have more opportunities for advancement
-18 percent say women receive more kudos for accomplishment

Salary reality
You might look at those survey results and think it’s a case of the grass being greener on the other side, but in this case that’s not so. If you’re a female in the workplace, the paycheck is significantly greener on the other side of the cubicle wall. The survey finds that income disparity between the genders is a very real issue:

Of surveyed female workers:
-40 percent earn $35,000 or less
-25 percent earn $50,000 or more
-3 percent earn $100,000 or more
-21 percent hold a management position
-49 percent hold a clinical or administrative position

Of surveyed male workers:
-24 percent earn $35,000 or less
-45 percent earn $50,000 or more
-10 percent earn $100,000 or more
-20 percent hold a management position
-25 percent are in a clinical or administrative role

President Obama released a statement on Women’s History Month, celebrated throughout March, in which he explained the many ways gender inequality needs to be addressed. And the professional disparity is complicated and can’t be fixed in one quick action.

For example, in a recent post on interview questions, many women — far more than we could include in the story — experienced hiring managers illegally asking about their children or plans to have children. The typical reason is that some employers are hesitant to hire a women who could take maternity leave or who need to take the occasional day off to handle family issues. It’s not hard to see that this is one way women can be held back professionally. And yet, in another article, working mothers explained that, even if they are part of a household with two working parents, they are expected to handle the child-care duties. Some explained that their husbands earn more, and that’s why they are the ones to miss work more often. Again, this move could hinder their professional advancement, and yet it could be one of the very reasons their husbands earn more. So it’s a circular issue, and only one of many that women face in the workplace, including old-fashioned favoritism.

Tell us if this news surprises you or if it’s exactly what you’d expect. Are you sitting there thinking, “Sounds about right?” Are you one of the 84 percent of men who don’t think there’s a disparity?


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