15 Aug 2019  ·  5 min read

Stefan van Tulder Maria Silantyeva

Gender inequality at work depicted in 4 clear graphs

There has been many debates around gender inequality in the workplace, but many people still don’t understand how to fully make sense of this problem. So, even if you have heard about gender inequality five times this week, it’s a topic worthy to discuss from a data perspective.

Talent Data Labs has researched this pressing issue by using our wealth of talent data. Statistics show that highly educated women still earn 20% less than men. But knowing this number is not enough. We need to gain a fuller understanding of the problem of gender inequality and develop a plan of action. This article will reveal some facts that you may not know about workplace inequality and present which actions companies can make to become more inclusive.

1. Adjusting for the same level of seniority doesn’t significantly reduce the gap.

We have analyzed the data of more than 3 thousand professionals and compared salaries of male and female employees within the same seniority and education levels. Despite the mean gap in wage being less than 20% when adjusting for the same position levels, it’s still significant, especially for C-level executives. For C-levels the difference in salaries between men and women is 19%. Furthermore, positions at mid-level such as an “individual contributor” and “team lead” show big mean pay gaps.


2. Even at the beginning of the career women encounter wage inequality.

Our data proves that men are promoted faster and more frequently: the average annual growth of salary for the first five years of a career is 14% for men and only 10% for women. As you can see from the graph, while the biggest gap exists for people with more than ten years of experience, the mean pay gap is 25.7% also for the commonly considered equal range of one to three years of work experience.


3. Getting a higher educational degree decreases the pay gap for women, but not significantly.

Because our data mainly included well-educated professionals, we could examine the difference in salaries for male and female employees with the same levels of higher education. The pay gap decreases by 1% with each subsequent level of higher education. Still, even for MBA graduates, the pay gap between men and women exists at the level of 17.8%.


4. The financial services sector has the worst gender pay gap.

We have also analyzed the mean pay gap within several industries, including financial services, engineering, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, tech and consulting. The mean pay gap in the graph below shows how much fewer women earn in each of these industries. The financial sector showed the most notable results – for each dollar a man makes in finance, a woman makes just 70 cents. A possible explanation would be that in the financial services sector men and women are segregated so that women are kept in low-level positions, while men are promoted to strategic and management roles.


(Mean pay gaps were calculated by comparing the average salaries of full-time male and female employees. Adjustments for the same number of working hours were not implemented for this calculation. It is however highly unlikely that these hour adjustments would compensate for the gap.)

What can we do about this?

With these 4 clear graphs we have shown that the gender pay gap continues to be a serious problem. To tackle this issue and start benefiting from diversity and inclusion in your workplace, you need to take action right now.

We advise to follow these steps to ensure against gender biases and gender inequality within companies:

1. Measure the pay gap within your company, both vertically and horizontally. Make sure that women are not only paid the same for the same roles but that they are also paid the same in the company as a whole, meaning that men and women should be represented proportionally on higher-level positions (given the natural population distribution).

2. Provide fair promotion and development opportunities for all employees. For that, transparent performance evaluation systems should be implemented based on KPI’s and strong organisational goals.

3. Don’t allow stereotypes and unconscious biases to influence your HR policies. Make sure you use objective assessments for recruitment and promotion of your employees.

Of course, these steps can be challenging. But Talent Data Labs can help you achieve these and other gender equality goals. Our talent analytics and data-driven tools can help improve your HR and recruitment processes and make your company benefit from equality and diversity. If you want to learn more, request a demo on our website, or contact us at [email protected]. You can also subscribe to our newsletter if you want to stay on top of the recent research about talent and HR practices.

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