Photo: Osvaldo Zoom
*Intro written by Alyson Shontell, slides by HBR’s Sarah GreenThe gender pay gap has been heavily debated.
Steve Tobak writes for BNET’s The Corner Office and thinks it’s all a sham – that the gap exists only in women’s heads.
Fellow BNET contributor Catherine Hill completely disagrees. She says multiple studies show women earn less than men, even when they make the same career choices.
According to the centre for American Progress Action Fund, women with college degrees earn about $713,000 less than men over 40-year careers.
Who’s right? Harvard Business Review delved into some research and came out with 9 statistics about the pay gap (which does exist, according to this data).
Despite the gains made by American women in recent decades, the median salary of a woman is still only about 78% of a man's.
In real terms, this means that women have to work January to April of the following year to earn what men make in a calendar year. But is it due to discrimination, or different career choices? HBR.org took a look at some of the available data.
The gap between men's and women's salaries begins immediately upon entering the workforce.
One year out of college, the average woman earns 80% of what a man earns; however, after controlling for industry, type of job, prior experience, and other characteristics, this gap closes to 95%. The AAUW, which derived these figures 2007, concluded that the unexplained 5% gap was evidence of bias.
The chart at left shows the cumulative gap, by education level, for a 40-year career.
Over a full career, seemingly small annual losses add up. No matter how many degrees a woman obtains, she still under-earns her male peers. And as her earning power rises, the cumulative effects of the wage gap cost her more dearly.
The centre for American Progress tracked wage gaps by age and occupation.
In this slide, the difference between the median salaries for male and female managers means that at the end of their careers, male managers have made $635,000 more than their female peers in salary -- not counting bonuses or other benefits tied to base pay.
The legal profession had the biggest pay gap in the CAP's report -- a lifetime gap of $1,481,000.
Part of the reason? Although women make up 51% of workers in the legal category, they constitute 81% of lower-paid legal support workers and only 33% of lawyers and 39% of judges.
The gap in installation, maintenance and repair trades is one of the smallest -- $84,000 over a 40-year career.
This seems to be, in part, a benefit of unionized jobs: 2004 data from the Bureau of labour Statistics showed that unionized women actually outearned nonunion men, and the wage gap between union workers was smaller (13%) than for nonunion workers (21%).
In the Corporate Library's 2008 survey of CEO pay, researchers found that female CEOs actually earned 103% of what male CEOs earned -- in salary.
But the bonuses and perks the male CEOs received raised their total annual compensation considerably.
31% of highly qualified women leave the workforce voluntarily for an average of 2.7 years, according the centre for Work-Life Policy.
Of these, 73% later go back to work; but only 40% of those find full-time jobs. Taking time out -- for any reason -- is costly: Earlier research by the CWLP showed that women who off-ramp lose an average of 18% of their future earning power.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.