We May Finally Understand What’s Causing The Gender Pay Gap

We May Finally Understand What's Causing The Gender Pay Gap

One of the hottest topics and biggest problems in gender equality right now is the pay gap between men and women. While more women are heading into the career field and taking higher positions, they’re still only making 75-80 cents on the man’s dollar – so what’s up with that? There have been many theories on the subject, ranging from sexism in the workplace to women’s unwillingness to negotiate salaries, but the research on the subject has been lacking – until now. Glassdoor conducted a study to find out what exactly the problem is and came up with some interesting findings.

Through a study conducted in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, and France, Glassdoor was able to get a pretty good grasp on what’s going on. In these five countries, Glassdoor found that men in the U.S. make an average of 24.1% more than their female counterparts, which completely explains why I can’t afford to get bottomless mimosas at brunch anymore. However, this doesn’t account for differing job titles, companies, and regions, among several other factors. Once these contributing factors are taken into account, the pay gap for men and women in similar positions shrinks exponentially – it’s really only 5.4%, meaning women are making 94.6 cents on the man’s dollar.

We May Finally Understand What's Causing The Gender Pay Gap

This still does open up a new question for the pay gap – while it seems women in similar positions are getting closer to making the same salaries as their male counterparts, why does it seem that women aren’t in as many higher-paying positions? According to the study, in all five countries, men and women are commonly sorted into different positions and industries, which have varying levels of pay. For example, Glassdoor found that while women only make up 26% of CEO positions with high pay, they fill 71% of cashier positions.

So why does this happen? It has less to do with levels of education, the study found, and more to do with societal pressure. Growing up in a patriarchal society encourages boys from a young age to pursue business and science, teaching them that climbing up the career ladder is their calling in life. Meanwhile, girls grow up with the understanding that raising a family will be their primary responsibility, so many choose majors that lead to lower-paying jobs, knowing that this may not be a career that they keep once children come along.

To help solve this pay gap, Glassdoor is advocating for greater transparency in salaries. This is something I’m completely behind – if you’ve ever interviewed for a job, you probably experienced the slight panic that comes behind receiving an offer. Should I negotiate for a higher salary? If so, what reasons should I give? Am I actually qualified to make more than what HR is suggesting? What do other people in my field even make, anyway? Thankfully, Glassdoor might be able to help you with that through their anonymously-published salaries. When reviewing your next job offer, head over to their website and find out what other people at your company, your position, or your region are making, and you just might sound intelligent enough to negotiate your next salary. Get ready, bottomless mimosas – I’m coming back for you.

[via Glassdoor]

Image via Shutterstock

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Steph W.

Steph W. is a new Master's degree graduate with an intern's salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include attempting to trapping her boyfriend into marriage before he finds out how insane she is and pretending that Black Box wine tastes as good as the kind she could afford when she was gainfully employed. Send her tips for getting out of student debt at

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