Some Cause for Optimism in Hired’s Research on Gender Wage Gap

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earning 8 percent more.

This repeats a pattern found among entry-level women candidates in Hired’s 2016 report, analyzing job searches in 2015. The junior women demanded 2 percent more than men, and reaped salaries an average of 7 percent higher than those of comparable men. That boosted the women into a salary range above $90,000.

Hired speculated in the 2016 report that a new generation might be closing the “expectation gap.”

“One hypothesis for this phenomenon is that this cohort—which is likely on the cusp of Generation Z and Millennial—have been raised at a time when traditional gender roles have had far less influence than in the past,” according to the 2016 report. “Recent research has also shown that Generation Z has a strong sense of self confidence and a strong belief in equal treatment for everyone.”

(Generation Z generally refers to people born beginning in the mid-1990s—the demographic cohort following Millennials.)

Hired also speculated that these entry-level workers are benefiting from the wider availability of objective salary information in the tech hiring marketplace.

But will that confidence and negotiating savvy continue to bear fruit as these younger women put in more years on the job? It’s a question that Hired can’t answer yet.

Among the women who already had more than six years of experience when they sought a new position in 2016, “the wage gap returns as experience increases,” Hired’s new report says. These women ask for an average of 4 percent less than men do. Correspondingly, they get an average of 4 percent less—and in certain cases they were offered up to 50 percent less.

These differences in compensation don’t seem to relate to qualifications, Kirkpatrick says. Hired rigorously curates the selection of job candidates offered to its tech company clients on the platform, and only 10 percent of applicants make the cut, she says. Of those, 80 percent are men and 20 percent are women, about the same split found in tech company workforces.

Hired already helps its candidates get a better sense of the market value of their skills by providing online tools and the advice of its counselors, called Talent Advocates. But late last year, the company started an experiment to see whether women would be more likely to claim what they’re worth if they had more detailed information. Half the candidates in the experiment were shown a specific range of salaries that past applicants have actually received for the same positions the candidates were seeking.

The results of the experiment so far are depressing, Kirkpatrick says. Women generally stated a “preferred salary” on the lower end of the range they were shown; men usually staked a claim to a salary on the high end of the range for the same job title.

“The wage gap got worse than if the candidates were never shown the salary range,” Kirkpatrick says.

The experiment is still running. Kirkpatrick says she’d like to interview the women involved to find out their reasons for lowballing themselves. “I would love for us to dig into that more,” she says.

Does the self-worth of experienced women in tech get ground down over the years by the unconscious bias or overt discrimination of a majority male company culture? Speaking from her own experience, Kirkpatrick says simply being a member of an under-represented group can be wearing.

“You look around, you don’t see many people who look like you; you don’t see leaders who look like you.’’ Kirkpatrick says. “It’s a huge emotional drain to constantly be feeling like ‘the other.’”

Aside from psychological factors, it’s possible that women are making a rational decision to underprice themselves so they can attract an offer, or a wider variety of offers, Kirkpatrick says. Hired’s counselors talk candidates through these tradeoffs.

Hired found some evidence that women may need to offer employers an incentive to include them in the groups asked in for an interview.

In their efforts to fill specific jobs, companies chose only male candidates for interviews 53 percent of the time. In two thirds of hiring searches, women were under-represented in the interview pools—even after taking into account … Next Page »

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