gender pay
Image: Andrii Yalanskyi, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Equal Pay Day is March 15, following closely on the heels of Tuesday’s International Women’s Day, and a new study finds that 41% of employed women believe the gender pay gap is a serious problem at their company.  However, women are feeling more emboldened. The study, by job site Glassdoor, also revealed that the majority (85%) of employed women believe they deserve a pay increase and 63% believe the Great Resignation gives them more leverage to negotiate their pay.

Half of the employed women surveyed negotiated a flexible work schedule after receiving the initial job offer for their current job, while 43% negotiated pay, according to the study.

While progress has been made to close the gender pay gap in what men and women earn in the United States, there’s still more work to be done, Glassdoor said.

SEE: The COVID-19 gender gap: Why women are leaving jobs and how to get them back to work. (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Greater pay transparency is needed

It starts with greater pay transparency. While the study found that nearly half (45%) of employed women said they feel comfortable sharing their pay with a coworker, only one in five (29%) have actually done so.

Over half (63%) of U.S. employees said they prefer to work at a company that discloses pay information, yet only 19% of employees reported that their company discloses pay ranges internally among all employees.

Online, however, pay discussions are increasing. On Glassdoor, over half (51%) of employee reviews mention pay, +9% year-over-year. Anonymous reviews are an important tool for salary transparency, but there’s more room for progress among employees and employers to help close the gender pay gap, the company said.

Within companies, more than one in four (28%) employees said their company discourages them from discussing their pay with coworkers, according to the study.

“Although progress has been made to narrow the gender pay gap … there is more work to be done as long as pay gaps exist for all women, said Alison Sullivan, Glassdoor career trends expert. “Greater pay transparency is a critical tool in closing the pay gap. If we want to see meaningful change by Equal Pay Day next year, it’s imperative that both employees and employers not only destigmatize the pay taboo but actively encourage and participate in pay discussions.”

Barriers preventing progress in pay equity

It’s important to recognize that women are negotiating – nearly seven in 10 (68%) employed women have tried to negotiate their pay, while nearly six in 10 (59%) reported being successful. For the 32% of employed women who said they did not negotiate, Glassdoor asked what would prevent them from negotiating their compensation and uncovered a handful of barriers. They include:

  • Fear of being denied (34%)
  • Fear of losing their job (27%)
  • Not having enough information about fair market compensation for their role (25%)
  • Not knowing how to negotiate (25%)
  • The potential for a negative impact on future career opportunities (e.g., not getting assigned to key accounts/projects — 22%)

More than four in five (85%) employed women believe they deserve a pay increase, and the good news is that information around pay is more accessible than ever, according to the study. For instance on Glassdoor, job seekers and employees can see industry-level, company-level and localized salary and total compensation information.

SEE: Checklist: Return to work (TechRepublic Premium)

Seize the moment

Another big takeaway from this data is the Great Resignation’s impact on boosting employees’ confidence in their work and their worth, Sullivan said. “People should be seizing this moment of worker power to come to the table to ask for more pay.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more and more employees are quitting their jobs to explore new or better opportunities. In this job seekers’ market, employers are eager to recruit and retain talent and oftentimes are willing to offer top dollar to sweeten the deal, according to the study.

Some women are rising to the occasion: 63% of employed women said they believe the Great Resignation gives them more leverage to negotiate their pay, the study said.

“Employers are willing to pay top dollar to get talent to stay or come onboard, and job seekers and employees should use that leverage to ask a current or prospective employer for more money, said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist, in a statement.

He advised that “when negotiating, always pair specific examples of your job success with data on your local market value. Whether you’re about to accept a new job or trying to land a raise, information is key to negotiating more money in your pocket.”

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from Feb. 15-17, 2022, among 2,025 adults ages 18 and older. Among them, 847 reported being currently employed full- or part-time.