Though equal rights for women have been shouted from the rooftops over the last few decades with governments and business proclaiming a fair and just world for both sexes, it is no secret for women in business that life is just slightly more difficult.
In fact just last year it was revealed that on average in the United Kingdom, female graduates were paid 20% less than their male counterparts according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Worse still, for women who have not been to university, the gap widens further with a difference of 23%. At least in regards to the graduate sector there could be a reasonable explanation; the fact that only one in five women graduate in the business and finance, sciences or engineering fields whereas the ratio for men is one in two.
It must be therefore assumed that the other four women take their degrees in an art field; a dangerous ground for anyone who wishes to attain a related job at the end of their degree.
Interestingly however in Forbes’ 2012 edition of the Fortune 500 list, there was a record number of female CEOs and single women in their twenties who were out-earning their male peers. At the same time in the United States at least, the wage gap still persists with the 23% figure being paralleled across the Atlantic; though the gap is significantly narrowed in Washington D.C. with the gap closing to a mere 9% difference.
The infamous gap itself has caused much controversy and debate over the past seventy years (when women expected to earn only 59% of a man’s full wage (though on Wall Street women still earn between 55% to 62% of a man’s wage). Some argue that the cause of the gap is caused by the lifestyle choices of women such as going into fields with less pay for example; evident with the chosen university fields.
What is yet to be explained, however, is that ten years after leaving university, there is still a 12% gap amongst people who studied in the same field; something where the cause has of yet evaded every study conducted on the subject. Interesting, considering that there are specific and fair recruitment solutions available with companies such as CIPHR.
What Can Be Done About It?
In a report by the AAUW (American Association of University Women), it states that many things can be done both on an individual level and one as given to employers:
“Developing negotiation skills can help workers earn fair pay. Because most employers have some latitude when it comes to salaries, negotiating can pay off. But negotiation skills are especially tricky for women because some behaviors, like self-promotion, that work for men may backfire on women.”
In regards to companies, some have needed to learn harsh lessons; Home Depot for example has had to pay millions of dollars because of pay discrimination amongst the women who worked in its stores.
Not only does equal pay create a sense of fairness amongst workers, but it is a proven statistic that when an employer is perceived to be fair, workers are less likely to be absent from work and overall performance is found to be significantly raised.
Five Basic Tips for Women in the Office
- Dress conservatively; suits with simple colors can’t go wrong though feel free to mix and match.
- Keep the skirt length no higher than just a few inches above the knee.
- Network with your colleagues, no matter who they are. A good mix of men and women is an obvious plus.
- Adjust your expectations to reality; worthwhile endeavors take time so be patient with what you’re working with.
- Support other women in the workplace; help them with their work, be there for them and you may just find yourself creating a strong alliance with some of the most important people in the office.
About the Author
Chris Taylor is an experienced HR blogger who is passionate and enthusiastic in showcasing the latest news and information from the industry.
This post is a paid advertorial sponsored by CIPHR.