Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Pay Gap (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Pay Gap GraphicWe realize we talk about the gender pay gap a lot, but it’s because the issue is as important as it is complex. A new report from PayScale released last week, “Inside the Gender Pay Gap,” underscores just how complicated it is. Their analysts took a look at every conceivable factor that could be driving the difference between men’s and women’s pay—including job type, industry, unconscious bias, and marital and family status—and found the following:

  • When you compare men and women in similar jobs, the gap isn’t all that bad. A gap does still exist, but PayScale data shows that women make 97 cents for every dollar a man earns when you control for experience, education, hours worked and location.
  • That said, the uncontrolled gender pay gap is still not great. They found women make, on average, 25.6 percent less than what men make.
  • More education isn’t helping close the gap. Men with PhDs, MBAs, and MDs make more than women with those degrees in similar roles—and in fact, the gap tends to get wider at higher levels of educational attainment.
  • There is a penalty for motherhood, but not fatherhood. One of the largest pay gaps is found between married men and women who have children.
  • Men benefit more from training than women. Women see a benefit—and a corresponding boost in earnings—when they take advantage of professional development opportunities. It’s just that (sigh) men see a bigger jump in earnings after training.

And this is a big one for our readers:

  • The pay gap widens the higher you get on the corporate ladder. At the individual contributor level, women make 2.2 percent less than what men make. With each promotion, women make relatively less, and at the executive level, women make 6.1 percent less than men make.

The bottom line? According to PayScale, it’s that “the gender wage gap is real, but more complicated than you think.”We agree with that, but we’d also add: this new evidence suggests that narrowing the gap IS within our control, to some extent. If job type is a huge contributor to the uncontrolled pay gap, it follows that encouraging more women to go into male-dominated fields like tech and business should shrink the gap over the next decade. And if you’re looking for inspiration to find your power and make a career switch, you’ve come to the right place.