According to a new Glassdoor survey about the global gender pay gap conducted by Harris Poll, 70% of people believe men and women are paid equally for the same work at their company.
This perception contrasts significantly, however, with recent research that shows women in the US are paid less for equal work than men in all industries, at every level.
After comparing more than 1.4 million salary profiles of men and women working the same jobs, PayScale calculated last year that women earn 2.7% less — or $0.97 on the dollar — than men with similar characteristics working the same jobs.
Overall, when comparing all men to all women, it found women earn 25.6% less than what men earn, or $0.74 on the dollar. That number is similar to what the US Census Bureau reports, which is that women in the US working full-time, year-round are paid $0.79 for every dollar paid to men.
“There’s a huge disconnect,” says Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s career-trends analyst. “The reason why perception and reality aren’t matching up is because there’s a lack of education and a lack of awareness when it comes to salary information.” This deficit, he says, comes from employers not embracing the idea of pay transparency.
While salary transparency on sites like Glassdoor, Reddit, and social media is growing, and people are hungry for more information about their salaries and asking questions, Dobroski says very few employers are comfortable divulging, either outside of or within their companies, how pay and compensation are determined and how employees can get to the next pay bracket.
This may change in the future, especially considering a plan issued by the Obama administration last month that would require all employers with 100 or more employees to provide the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with information on employee pay broken down by gender, race, and ethnicity.
But people expect and demand more transparency now, Dobroski says, and there are ways companies can meet those demands.
First, he says, companies need to review their compensation guidelines and put them somewhere internally so that employees can access them.
Next, they should pledge publicly that they are open to equal pay for equal work, which will give them a competitive edge in keeping current employees and attracting job-seekers.
“The genie is out the bottle when it comes to salary information, and employers and employees are meeting more on a level playing field than they ever have, and there will continue to be this shift, no doubt about it,” Dobroski says.