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More than One-Third of Female Workers Say They are Paid Less than Their Male Counterparts with the Same Experience, Survey Finds


Female Workers also Report Gaps in Career Advancement, Training and Workplace Flexibility

CHICAGO.- While some may say the “glass ceiling” in the office is being shattered, according to a new survey from, the Battle of the Sexes continues in the workplace. Employers are increasingly introducing programs to promote equality, yet more than one-third (34 percent) of female workers say they feel they are paid less than their counterparts of the opposite sex with the same skills and qualifications - relatively unchanged from 35 percent in 2006. Eleven percent of men say they feel they are paid less than their female counterparts. The survey, “Workplace Equality,” included 4,328 male workers and 3,632 female workers nationwide.

Comparing salaries, 40 percent of men surveyed reported they make $50,000 or more, compared to 21 percent of women surveyed. Nineteen percent of men earn $75,000 or more, compared to 7 percent of women. On the other end of the pay scale, 47 percent of women reported they make $35,000 or less compared to 28 percent of men.

Pay isn’t the only area where women say they are feeling discrimination. More than a quarter (26 percent) of female workers say they have fewer career advancement opportunities than their counterparts of the opposite sex with the same skills and qualifications, 18 percent say they do not get the same amount of training and learning opportunities and 17 percent say they do not have the same amount of workplace flexibility.

“The number of women reporting that they receive less pay than their male counterparts has changed little over the last two years,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at “While companies have taken great strides to address equality in the workplace, there is still a lot of work ahead. Companies understand the value of having a diverse workforce and many are scrutinizing and improving their recruitment, compensation and promotion practices.”

By Industry
When it comes to specific industries, women who work in healthcare (22 percent), hospitality (22 percent) and education (30 percent) are less likely to feel they are paid less than their male counterparts. Women who work in IT (33 percent) and banking and financial services (33 percent) are near the national average. Women in manufacturing (44 percent), retail (41 percent) and professional and business services (38 percent) are more likely to report pay discrimination. On the flip side, 21 percent of men in hospitality and 16 percent of men in banking and financial services say they are paid less than their female counterparts with similar credentials.

Perceptions of Discrimination
When asked to what they attribute getting paid less and/or having fewer career advancement opportunities than their male counterparts, nearly half (48 percent) of women say management tends to show favoritism to members of the opposite sex; 34 percent say men tend to schmooze more with the boss. Thirty-two percent of women say men are perceived as needing to have more money to support their families, 30 percent say men tend to get better or more high profile projects and 23 percent say men tend to be more aggressive in their compensation negotiations.

Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive® on behalf of among 7,960 US employees (employed full-time; not self-employed) between May 22 and June 13, 2008. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset of responses to certain questions. With a pure probability sample of 7,960, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.0 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


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