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Do women in your company get paid less than men, despite their equal job descriptions? Are they less likely to get a raise? A new study proves it’s not for lack of trying. Women ask for pay rises just as often as men, but are 25% less likely to get one when they ask.
Despite some recent improvements, a gender pay gap still exists across industries. The HR industry is no exception, with male employees being paid on average $10,000 more than their female counterparts.
While a popular theory puts most of the blame on the female employees, a study conducted by Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin tells a different story.
In the study entitled “Do Women Ask?” the researchers attempted to find an answer to the question why women typically earn less than men. In order to do so, they decided to test the existing theory that women tend to earn less because (a) women don’t ask for pay rises, and (b) the reason they don’t ask is because they’re more concerned than men about the quality of their relationships in the workplace.
“One reason why it seems important to scrutinise this theoretical account is that the theory assigns at least part of the responsibility for gender differentials on to female workers and their actions”, the authors wrote.
The researchers used data from 4600 employees across 840 workplaces in Australia. They pointed out that Australia was the natural test bed, because it is the only country in the world to collect systematic information on whether employees have asked for a raise.
When comparing full-time male employees with full-time female employees, they found no statistical difference between men and women in the probability of having asked for a raise.
Despite women asking for a raise just as often as men, they are less likely to actually get one. When asking, men were given one 20% of the time. Women only got their raise 16% of the time, meaning their success rate lies 25% lower.
“We didn’t know how the numbers would come out. Having seen these findings, I think we have to accept that there is some element of pure discrimination against women”, Co-author Andrew Oswald, professor of economics and behavioural science at the University of Warwick said in a statement.
Although these results take some of the blame for the controlled gender pay gap away from women, last year a study by Oxford University’s Careers Service suggested that women are at least partly responsible for the general pay gap. The research suggested that from a young age, girls tend to focus more on “worthwhile” jobs, while boys go after jobs that offer big salaries.
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