According to the OECD, an organisation representing rich countries, median wages for women working fulltime are only 85 per cent of that of men. In 2017, surely this should be overcome? What is holding women back?
According to executive recruitment consultancy Korn Ferry, women generally earn the same pay for the same work. Their data suggests that women earn 98% of the wages of men who are in the same roles at the same employers.
Unsurprisingly, women continue to outnumber men in lower-paid roles such as secretarial and administrative roles, with senior positions dominated by men.
Also unsurprisingly, women continue to be drawn towards professions that generally offer lower pay, such as primary school teachers, nurses, secretaries, and social workers. Further compounding this is the fact, roles popular with females are female dominated. In the US, the four jobs done by the biggest numbers of women are over 80 per cent female.
Raising kids continues to remain a big barrier to women’s wages rising. Research out of the UK found that over half of women with children at home had scaled back their work commitments after becoming mothers. How they scaled back came in many forms, typically altering their role so they didn’t need to do as much overtime or travel. This puts men first in line to get the next big promotion. As a result, women are more likely to be overqualified for their position.
A recent study in the US found that mothers’ wages fall by 4 per cent for each child and even higher for higher skilled women.
Sadly, gender pay inequality will continue to persist until employers can truly make being a mother workable and boys becoming equally excited about being a nurse or teacher as girls.