Men are far more likely to agree that their company is actively implementing initiatives to address gender pay gaps, with 61% saying this compared to only 35% of women.
A significant proportion of Americans continue to grapple with the enduring disparity, which influences not only their financial stability but also their career development, job satisfaction, and overall professional experience. 72% of Americans have personally experienced or observed a gender pay gap at their current company, underscoring the work not just relating to economic imbalance but also deeper societal issues related to gender perceptions and biases.
Who is affected by the gender pay gap?
Unsurprisingly, males are significantly more likely than females never to have been affected by a gender pay gap, with 65% of males and 58% of females saying they have no personal experiences with a gender pay gap in the workplace. Many women remain unaware of the implications of the gender pay gap on their career progression and financial standing, mainly due to factors like the lack of pay transparency. 20% of women report this uncertainty compared to a mere 8% of men.
The lack of transparency in wage information can exacerbate the degree of pay inequality, particularly across generations, with younger employees reporting more experience with this issue. 27% of Gen Z and 32% of Millennials have experienced a gender pay gap, compared to only 19% of Gen X and 14% of Boomers.
These trends persist when broadening the viewpoint from personal experience to people you know. Younger audiences have more connections affected by gender pay gaps, with 37% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials reporting this, compared to 29% of Gen X and 26% of Boomers.
Why do gender pay gaps still exist?
Gender disparity and systemic sexism are significant social issues faced today. Many Americans perceived the top reasons some companies still have gender pay gaps are due to stereotypes and biases (49%) and discriminatory hiring and promotion practices (46%). Interestingly, men are more likely to attribute the persistence of the gender pay gap to a lack of awareness among leadership, with 45% expressing this belief compared to 35% of women. Additionally, 38% of males believe the gender pay gap arises from differences in negotiation skills, while only 25% of females agree with this sentiment.
How does it impact employees?
The primary perceptions among Americans regarding how the gender pay gap influences the employee experience include causing employees to feel undervalued (59%), engendering a lack of motivation to perform well (49%), and motivating employees to seek out alternative employment opportunities (46%). When looking generationally, older employees are more likely to believe employees will seek out other employment opportunities due to a gender pay gap than younger employees, with 48% of Gen X and 53% of Boomers saying this compared to only 39% of Gen Z. Both genders largely concur on the gender pay gap’s impact on employee experience. However, a slightly higher percentage of males (53%) than females (45%) believe the pay gap can demotivate employees to perform well.
What should be done about it?
Most employees (75%) believe that gender equality in the workplace is an important issue that should be actively addressed. However, less than half (46%) believe their company is actively implementing initiatives to address gender equality. Additionally, most employees (66%) believe that companies are aware of gender pay gaps, but only 49% think they’re actively trying to close the gender pay gap. There is a gap between American expectations and corporate actions.
Notably, males tend to have a more optimistic perspective on the situation than females. Men are far more likely to agree that their company is actively implementing initiatives to address gender pay gaps, with 61% saying this compared to only 35% of women.
Conversely, females are far more likely to disagree that companies are actively trying to close the pay gap, with 21% disagreeing with this sentiment compared to only 9% of males.
Interestingly, though, females are less likely to believe that companies should disclose their gender pay gaps, with 22% believing there are no reasons why a company should be required to disclose this information, compared to only 12% of males who believe this. In general, Americans believe companies should be required to reveal gender pay gap information based on government regulation (45%), the size of the company (44%), and the company’s industry (41%).
The enduring disparity across genders is a poignant reminder of the work that remains in our quest for equality. Despite the public consensus on transparency and regulation, societal attitudes towards gender pay equity remain complex and divided.