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Men To Earn In 9 Years What Women Earn In Their Lifetime

Woman shrugs shoulders
Women need nine years of experience to reach the expected wage levels that men anticipate to receive upon graduation.
  • Women always expect to earn substantially less than men
  • Men are bolder when it comes to negotiating their salary
  • Negotiation training for women could reduce gender pay gap

Due to the gender pay gap, on average, women have to work for 15 months to earn what men earn in one year. If you adjusted this for the typical 9-5 work day women would start working for free from 2.40pm onwards.

Although the gender wage gap still persists, it is not through lack of trying. The fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), gender equality, is one of the only SDGs that most companies have actually considered advocating for and put steps in place to achieve. The problem? The steps that businesses have put in place are nowhere near enough.

Adding to that, despite the evidence, many (senior) people still don’t believe that the gender pay gap actually exists. Why? They argue that it doesn’t take into account the fact that men and women occupy different jobs and roles. That men are more likely to have jobs in high-paying industries and are also more likely to have senior roles that are more lucrative – which is an issue in itself I may add.

Contrary to (unfortunately) popular belief, the gender pay gap is a real thing and because of the constant inequality in pay over the years, women themselves actually expect to earn less than men.

According to research by the University of Cologne, women need nine years of prospective experience to reach the expected wage levels that men anticipate to receive upon graduation.

In turn, men expect to earn an average yearly salary of 49,000 Euros after nine years’ experience, this is almost as high as the maximum wage that women expect to earn by the end of their careers (51,000 Euros).

The study, by Professor of Economics Pia Pinger, found that, even as students, women always expect to earn substantially less than their male counterparts, mostly due to factors relating to their job choices and negotiation styles.

The similarity between the wage gap in expectations and the actual wage gap suggests that expectations reflect the expected outcome of future wage setting. As women expect lower wages, they leave little scope for negotiation, therefore, are more likely to be pushed down to their reservation wage. In contrast, men are much bolder and often enter negotiations with higher numbers.

“The difference in wage negotiation strategies may explain why there is a strong link between expected and actual wages,” says Professor Pinger. “This difference prompts the question of whether a bolder negotiation style pays off, especially for women.”

Professor Pinger’s point is supported by a study from Linda Babcok, a professor of Economics and former Acting Dean at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She found that there was a 7.6 percent difference between the salaries that women with MBAs were getting and those that men with MBAs were getting. Much of the blame for this was placed on the organisations saying they were institutionally sexist.

While Professor Babcok adds that this likely is the case, she raises the point, does a women’s hesitation to negotiate play a contributing factor in the wage gap? In her study, she found that when participants received their job offer, about seven percent of women attempted to negotiate their salary, whereas 57 percent of men did. Those people that did negotiate, were able to increase their salary by over seven percent. So, based on these findings, if women and men negotiated in similar ways, the wage gap could be cut dramatically.

However, it is important to remember that women are not to blame for their hesitation with negotiating. Research in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that over the years, women have been made to feel like they can’t be assertive and ask for what they want through fear of backlash, because for some reason it is considered socially acceptable for a man to be assertive, not only when negotiating but in general, but not for a woman.

For this reason, Professor Pinger suggests that negotiation training would be an effective measure to reduce the gender wage gap, and that such measures would be more effective than policies that encourage women to enter male-dominated fields.

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