Study: Pay gap may be wider than previously thought
- A new study argues that most reports on the gender wage gap understate the pay inequality problem. While many say that women make about 80 cents for every dollar men earn — a figure Georgetown University says moves to 92 cents when education and occupation are factored in — the Institute for Women's Policy Research says those numbers leave many women workers out of the picture.
- The organization says its 15-year analysis presents a more accurate measure of the income women actually bring home to support themselves and their families and shows that women are actually earning 49 cents on the dollar. "When measured by total earnings across the most recent 15 years for all workers who worked in at least one year, women workers’ earnings were 49 percent — less than half — of men’s earnings," the report says.
- The study found that women face harsher wage penalties for taking time out of the labor force and researchers suggested that strengthening women’s attachment to the labor force will be necessary to narrow the wage gap. Affordable childcare and paid family and medical leave will increase women's participation in the labor force and encourage men to share more of the unpaid time spent on family care, the report says.
Employers are increasingly reviewing their compensation polices to assure pay equity, a report from earlier this year revealed.
Especially in light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, employers are facing increased pressure from all directions — employees, customers and shareholders — to review their pay practices and close any gender or race gaps.
"We are in a new age in which there is intense pressure on companies, both internally and externally, to address pay gaps," Zina Deldar, an attorney at Paul Hastings, told attendees at a recent conference. Audits and pay adjustments can be a hard sell for HR to make to higher-ups, "but hopefully you can convince them that the time is now," Deldar added.
Moreover, this most recent report's suggestion that family-friendly policies can close the gender wage gap echos what other recent research has said. Pointing to Canada's success with subsidized childcare and parental leave, research published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggested that the U.S. "could add as many as 5 million prime-age workers to its labor force." But some employers aren't waiting for public policy. Many have adopted or extended paid parental leave policies, and devised other programs, like PwC's phased return to work initiative.
- Institute for Women's Policy Research Still a Man's Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap