Gender-driven wage gap
Despite a sense of continued progress towards gender equality in the workplace, the argument over wage gap between men and women still persists. At a general level, the most likely reason given is the differing work patterns of men and women which lead to larger earnings gap. Research in this area suggests that working women are penalized for their dual roles as wage earners and those who disproportionately care for home and family.
Despite improvements, the wage gap has not closed evenly across industries, particularly in high skilled areas. It is said that women in the workforce are less likely to work a full- time schedule and are more likely to leave the labour force for longer periods than men, further suppressing women’s wages. Also, women have fewer years of work experience. In addition, women’s earnings generally lag behind men because of their inability to negotiate their salaries. Thus men get an inherent annual bonus just for being men.
Another explanation for the wage gap arises from the concept of ‘ firmspecific skills’. These skills refer to experiences and qualifications that employees may build up over time that are particularly valuable to the employer because it concerns knowledge about its specific product portfolio, a technology particularly crucial for the firm, relationships with its most important customers, etc.
Firms that are afraid that women are more likely than
men to resign from their jobs at some point ( to give birth and take care of children) are more reluctant to assign jobs that lead to such firm specific skills to women. On average, women build up less of those crucial firm specific skills and earn less money for what seems to be the same job.
Despite their intuitive appeal, these explanations are not evidence- based. As a matter of fact, it is incredibly difficult to research firm- specific skills. This is because all that can be easily measured is someone’s gender, their job status and their salary.
Also, in contrast to these explanations, during and after the recession, men took a greater beating than women which led to narrowing of the wage gap. During the recession, men lost more jobs than women and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among adult men was 10 percent compared with 8 percent for adult women.
Importantly, the competence of women has enhanced in multiple ways. Therefore, when experts make a comparison to earlier discrepancies, it is found that the pay gap declined primarily because men and women have become more similar when it comes to experience as well as educational attainment. Executives agree to the fact that women make better managers. Though challenging to the societal norms, the glass ceiling has started to break with increasing force. Women have become more empowered in monetary terms, because a large number of executives are focused on the skills in resumes rather than what gender the candidate belongs to. Thus, apart from the wages, there is also an equal opportunity atmosphere created at work places for women to discover their growth path.