equal pay

By Rieva Lesonsky

Today is Equal Pay Day—the day that highlights how far into the year women must work to earn the amount men earn the previous year. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, “because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.” What this all means is that women work 15 months to earn what men do in 12. Overall, women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

For every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, the breakdown is even more eye opening:

  • Asian American women earn 85 cents
  • White women earn 77 cents
  • African American women earn 61 cents
  • Native American women earn 58 cents
  • Hispanic women earn 53 cents

Some deny a gender pay gap exists

A survey conducted by TSheets by QuickBooks shows 60% of male business owners and 72% of female business owners believe men and women should always get paid equally, while 20% of the business owners surveyed say they don’t believe men and women should always get equal pay.

I’m going to unequivocally state—this is not fair (nor is it right). What do most Americans think? Well, according to the TSheets Equal Pay survey, “Just 22% of Americans—15% of women and 30% of men—believe employers are doing enough to promote equal pay in the workplace. When business owners were asked the same question, 71% say they believe the issue is being addressed adequately.”

Obviously, that indicates a huge disconnect between business owners and their employees. Could that be one reason it’s so difficult for businesses to attract and retain employees these days? And although 55% of the businesses surveyed have an equal pay policy, 23% admit they’ve never analyzed pay rates by gender.

Just the facts

For proof of the disparity, take a look at these salary statistics from Zenefits. Across all levels and departments, females employees who work at SMBs are paid on average 28.7% less a year than their male counterparts, and women make up roughly 41% of the SMB workforce.

A deeper dive into Zenefits’ stats shows the longer women employees work, the wider the gender gap grows.

The gap is smallest in entry level jobs. At this level, women make up the majority of the workforce (53.3%) and earn 3.5% less on average than their male counterparts. As women climb the SMB ladder, their situation worsens:

  • Intermediate level: Females account for 48% of the workforce and earn 20.8% less on average than their male counterparts.
  • Senior and lead levels: Females account for 42% of the workforce and earn 19.6% less on average than their male counterparts.
  • Department heads and executives: Females account for 34% of the workforce and earn 21.9% less on average than their male counterparts.
  • C-Suite employees: It’s not better in the C-Suite. Zenefits’ data shows when it comes to Chief Technology Officers, there’s a massive disparity in gender representation with less than 5% of women holding the CTO title. And those women are paid on average 6% less than their male counterparts. Male COOs earn about 9% more than female COOs; male CMOs make on average 7% more than female CMOs; and male CFOs make on average 15% more than female CFOs.

And the gender wage gap even extends to small business owners themselves. According to Zenefits, on average male business owners pay themselves $25,000+ more a year than women business owners do.

There’s a lot more information in the TSheets Equal Pay survey—it’s definitely worth exploring.

Equal Pay stock photo by Michele Paccione/Shutterstock