earning gapIt’s 2019. Is this the year that progress will be made to bridge the employee earning gap?  Are there team building strategies that bridge this gap?

It appears that the type of industry matters identifying whether or not women take home less earnings than men. On the average, women still earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to the Census Bureau.

In addition to being a US business ethical problem, it is also an engagement and retention issue in a tight labor market. So what industries are most egregious?

Higher Education’s impact on the earning gap.

One area where the gap is widest is higher education. In academia, women are tenured less than men. One way to explain this gap is by gender bias. In economics papers, for example, all of the authors are listed in alphabetical order, so it can be difficult to determine which writer completed the majority of the work. According to a study of tenured professors from 1975 to 2016, 52 percent of women received tenure while 77 percent of men did. Women who authored their own papers were just as likely to receive tenure, but women who coauthored most of their work were significantly less likely to receive tenure. Men’s tenure was not affected by coauthoring.

This research is in one specific in a niche industry. The results show the glaring difference between men and women in the workplace. Other findings concluded that women who engage in teamwork receive less credit because it is assumed that they have contributed less during the work process. This may or may not be true and shores up faulty thinking given that work culture and cooperation that tears down silos is the change direction more progressive companies are headed.

What’s obvious is the assumption made about the division of work. With this bias in mind, there are some team building strategies that leaders and employees can implement to bridge the earning gap.

Women entrepreneurs could increase prices to bridge the gender earning gap.

Researchers recently analyzed more than 1 million eBay transactions and found that women made about 3 percent less per second-hand item then men. They made an astonishing 19.7 percent less than men on new items. These numbers are for the exact same item in the same condition. The only difference was that women were selling the items, rather than men.

The researchers also took into account feedback scores and length of time as a seller. Overall, the women had higher feedback scores and an average of 9 years on eBay, compared to 9.8 years for men. The study found that women tended to receive fewer bids on their items than the men did, which drove the price down.

This data can translate to other platforms and industries as well. Therefore, it is important for women to  understand pricing up front and do their research. Women benefit from understanding the value of the item they are offering or selling, and raise their prices to meet current market costs. If they understand how much they should get from a product, then they can fight for a fair price.

Women could use their skills to bridge the earning gap.

Women naturally possess several skills that translate well into the business world. Women are more empowered than ever, and when women can’t find an open door, many build one, open it and walk through themselves.

These women are becoming role models for other women. This makes it easier for other women to forge ahead.

Some women are also used to hearing condescending and negative remarks from their male counterparts.  What matters is how they respond to these comments.

For example, when met with a sexist comment from an investor, Michelle Crosby, founder and CEO of Wevorce, dug deeper and started a real conversation with that investor. She asked him why he felt that way. She kept asking fair questions and through his responses he came to a better understanding of Crosby and her potential.

It was an eye-opener for this investor. How women respond to criticism matters.

Promote transparency to bridge the earning gap.

One very effective way to close the pay gap is to publish salaries. By publishing salaries and allowing workers to know how much each team member is earning, leaders may be able to see a pay gap that they didn’t know existed. Or it might encourage women to negotiate higher salaries during negotiations.

When given a job offer, 51.5 percent of men ask for more money, while only 12.5 percent of women ask for more. Women can school themselves in negotiation strategies for asking for more money. By knowing what other people make in the same role, they have a strong basis for negotiations.

Or leaders and business owners can create pay ranges based on roles and experience. The result is offering nonnegotiable job offers so that men and women are offered the same amount at the time of hire.

Encourage sleep to close the earning gap.

Sleep is important for all workers, but it may be more important for women. According to several studies, women require about 20 minutes more sleep per night than men. One finding is that women require more sleep because they do more work than men.

For example, women spend a great deal of time multitasking. As a result, they may need the extra sleep to recover from the additional work.

While women getting more sleep won’t affect the pay gap, it is important to note because proper work-life balance leads to lower rates of burnout and higher productivity. This affects pay. Women who understand how much sleep their bodies require perform better at their jobs.

The bottom line on the earning gap.

It’s been more than 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was initiated. Women still earn, on average, 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. The gender earning gap is still prevalent in society. Some industries are worse than others.

While work conditions have arguably improved, there’s still a long way to go for equality in the workplacl. Some team building strategies to implement include:

  • Women raising their prices;
  • Using their skills to emphasize worth;
  • Promoting transparency; and,
  • Women need to get enough sleep.

There’s a lot of work still to be done, but with planning and impactful change, pay equality can prevail.

Care to dig deeper into the topic of the earning gap?

More information can be found from the following articles:

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

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