We hear from many sources the three oft quoted reasons why women earn less than men in comparable jobs:
- The person making the hiring and pay decision is usually male.
- Women’s contributions in the workplace tend to be undervalued.
- A woman is traditionally not as adept at negotiating as a man is.
All three are unjustifiable excuses for employers to take the low road when it comes to compensating women.
A Good Sign
There is an emerging trend that could be a sign that employees are now taking the high road towards equal pay for equal work.
According to a recent analysis of 2,000 communities by James Chung of Reach Advisers, a market research organization, in 147 out of 150 of the biggest cities in theUnited States, the median full-time salaries of young women are 8% higher than for men in their peer group. This agrees with research conducted byQueensCollegeout ofNew York. TheQueensresearch found that this phenomenon is occurring in other major metropolitan areas. The study done by Reach suggests that the gap is bigger than previously thought. This affects young women in the cities of both coasts: New York, Atlanta, Memphis, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The premium pay differential for a young woman can be as high as 17% more than her male peers. This trend also holds true even in smaller urban regions like Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.
This trend of higher compensation however applies only to female professionals who are under the age of 30, unmarried, and childless. The typical woman identified who earns the pay premium works in a knowledge-based job in a metropolitan area.
Even today, women who are employed in male dominated industries such as high tech or manufacturing, still earn less than their male counterparts, with the gap being as much as 20% less.
As we continue this major shift in the US towards being a knowledge-based and education dependent work force, The High Road® Institute believes there will be a narrowing of the wage gap for almost all female professionals.
Unfortunately, this equalization will take longer to apply to women who work in industries and fields that are dependent on a worker’s brawn rather than her brain.
The High Road Solution to the Pay Gap
To achieve real pay equality for all women, investments in equal access to education and a CEO level commitment to equal pay for equal work will ultimately be necessary.