Blog Posts

Do Women Get Paid Less than Men and Why?

By 2nd July 2019

Today we present a post written by our guest writer. This author has prepared a series of articles about getting a salary depending on gender. Are you ready to get a raise? Pay attention to each of these articles. Step-by-step you will move to higher career levels. Let’s start.

Women Get Paid Less

Not without reason, Iceland passed a law in 2018 which forces companies to prove that they pay men and women equally. The reasons for the pay gap are multiple and numerous studies have been performed on this topic.

Comparing Apples With Oranges

It’s really difficult to establish how big the pay gap really is because we often compare apples with oranges. We need to consider for example that in many countries, many women work in part-time jobs as they also need to take care of kids.

There are not so many chances for promotions and career development in part-time jobs and that is one part of the problem because pay raises usually go hand in hand with promotions. So the overall career development for women in part-time jobs will be slower than for men in full-time jobs.

career development

There might also be the aspect of security: a woman who is taking care of her kids might not want to exchange the safe current workplace against another one where she might need to have less flexibility, more work, more overtime, etc. So, she probably won’t apply for a better-paid job in a different company out of fear that it won’t be compatible with her current lifestyle.

I experienced this several times as a team manager. I wanted to promote a woman working part-time, give her more responsibility and exposure, but she didn’t want to out of fear that she would have to do longer hours, lose the flexibility to take care of her kids when they need it and generally be more stressed.

Furthermore, we also need to consider that women and men often choose different careers. There are male-dominated, well-paying industries which can be considered as unsuitable careers for women. Jobs in IT, for example, pay really well, yet there are quite a few female software developers, IT project managers, system administrators, etc. Then there are typically female-dominated industries that don’t pay as well.

Lower Starting Salaries

As a team and hiring manager, I also identified another reason for the pay gap: women ask for much lower starting salaries than men. I experienced this so many times amongst male and female applicants of the same age group and for the same position.

My personal experience with my team members, clients, and friends is mainly covering office-related jobs, e.g. in Customer Service, Sales, Project Management, Communications/PR and similar positions, where men and women are usually equally represented. I haven’t really had clients in typically male or typically female-dominated industries, so I wouldn’t be able to say if there is a difference there.

women salary

I know from my personal experience as a team manager and as a coach for job applications that salary negotiations are a difficult topic for most women. I understand that. Salary negotiations are uncomfortable. You don’t want to create conflict, especially when starting out in a new job – and salary negotiations can feel just like that.

You might also be at a loss how to argue your case, so it’s easier to settle with what they recommend. Or you might not feel confident enough that you really are worth more, you might feel like an imposter and therefore just go with whatever you are offered.

Here’s the good news: I have a whole lot of advice on how you can improve your salary negotiations and I’ll do this in a miniseries over the next few days. So stay tuned for the next posts, covering topics like how to determine your worth, how to prepare your salary negotiations, how to better negotiate and how to build your case for a pay raise.