Recent research indicates that the pay gap between women and men is shrinking among younger generations, but still persists.
The White House estimates that women who work full-time earn about 77 cents for every dollar that a man with the same position doing the same work makes. New data from the Pew Research Center may be cause for optimism when it comes to closing the gender pay gap; the organization estimates that women earn about 84 percent of what men in the same position earn.
As Pew pointed out in an article announcing the research, this figure represents significant progress from 1980, when women earned 36 cents less for each dollar made by male counterparts in the same roles.
Data differs on how large the gender pay gap is for young generations. Recent statistics from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research’s “Status Of Women In The States” report shows that millennial women earn an average of $30,000 per year, while male counterparts earn $35,000.
Pew again has a more promising statistic to share when it comes to young workers. The organization estimates that young women make 93 percent of what their male peers earn.
On August 5, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York published an article on its blog estimating that “among recent college graduates, women earn roughly 97 cents on the dollar compared with men who have the same college major and perform the same jobs.” In fact, the bank also found that in some majors women actually out-earn their male counterparts.
While this might be a promising trend, there’s a key caveat: “However, our analysis shows that as workers approach mid-career, the wage premium that young women enjoy in these majors completely disappears, and males earn a more substantial premium in nearly every major,” the Federal Reserve Bank report stated. By mid-career, men who once made the same as their female college peers make about 15 percent more.
These mid-career pay differences may arise because women are more likely to take time off from their careers to raise families, which, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted, “reduces the accumulation of work experience and human capital, which has been shown to have a negative influence on earnings.” A Pew survey had the same findings.
The tide may be turning in this arena as well, at least if millennials have anything to do with it. In a recent survey of 9,700 people between the ages of 18 and 67 in the U.S., United Kingdom, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan and Mexico, Ernst & Young found that “Millennials, globally, are more likely than other generations to say it is important to receive paid parental leave, onsite or subsidized child care and be able to telecommute one to two days a week.”
The survey found that, after pay and benefits, the top most important thing in a new job for workers is “being able to work flexibly and still be on track for promotion.” Not being allowed to work flexibly was included in the top five reasons to quit a job. Among parents, the desire for flexibility in the workplace weighed greater.
Are employers responding to the need for greater flexibility in the workplace? It may be too soon to tell, but at least a few major companies in the technology sector have made major changes to their maternity and paternity leave policies. Netflix, Microsoft and Adobe all recently boosted the amount of parental leave they offer.