Earlier this year, when the New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was replaced in almost mysterious circumstances, reports of non-transparency in salary surfaced up. Apparently, she had discovered that her salary and benefits were far lesser than her male counterparts and that had led to a conflict situation with the board. How important is the gender factor – we decided to find out!
People usually like to say, ‘In today’s career space, gender differences are not important’. On the other hand, we also see the introduction of ‘women’s quotas as a tangible necessity‘ by senior leaders and companies like Telekom in Germany. The picture then ceases to be as fabulous as we may like to believe. Even when women are increasingly seen at top positions within companies, the inequality claims are nowhere close to being narrowed down. From our own data, Experteer’s 5 million strong candidate- base (worldwide), we see majority are men. About 80% of the senior professionals and managers in Germany are men.
There are noticeable differences in the career arena between men and women and they do not end at just salary.
Men continue to earn more compared to women
Forbes had results up showing that women till the age of 35 years earn about 90% of the salary compared to men. This gap usually keeps going up as seniority increases reaching even close to 20-25%. Assuming women take up more senior management roles with increasing age, this means that, the higher the job level, the bigger is the difference in salary. The Obama government has a campaign for ‘equal pay’ which puts these numbers in perspective for the US.
Men get promoted more quickly
There are research reports that suggest positive developments in the area of promotions for women. However, the picture is still not rosy. Studies still continue to show that on an average men get promoted more quickly. A possible reason could be different push by mentors. According to Harvard Business Review men usually have strong mentors on their side and thus enjoy more effective promotions.
Women leaders get questioned more on family responsibilities
Usually most successful CEOs, like Indra Nooyi get asked how exactly they maintain a work-life balance. Surprisingly while there are plenty of male CEOs, they are usually not asked this question. One may argue that it is a bias against men, but it also means that women are expected to fulfill roles at the family with a stronger priority. Plenty of women thus, instead of fighting office politics and salary benchmarks, also end up fighting the set expectations people have of them. There is constant judgment on how well they manage their roles as mothers, and in their families apart from their jobs.
The Gender factor thus continues to play an important role at the workplace and in senior leadership positions. There are still those that argue that women are not *suited* to certain roles and responsibilities. However, we like to believe that in the end, the choice of what path a woman follows professionally should be based on her own perspectives and not be subject to any discriminatory behavior. This means, if a woman chooses to be the CEO at home taking care of the family and kids- that is also a choice. And there is no reason why a woman in office (on a role she chooses) should have to face any unequal treatment. Some professions continue to be male dominated, and maybe that is not a problem on the surface. Although, it is critical to remember that a diverse workforce tends to be far more innovative and inclusive culturally. And speaking of culture, some of us have been raised with Disney pop culture references of white horses and princes. Many young girls could perhaps reach different professional settings if they were exposed to imagining a different future. The Entrepreneur Barbie may not have been a retail success, but we do believe that it changes the way we let girls imagine all the leadership positions they can potentially be in. As a progressive culture, how can we let the gender factor impact so much still?