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The Gender Pay Gap Essay

Today, women represent almost half of the workforce in the labour department. There have been increasingly more opportunities for women to enter the labour market who are equally competitive in some fields as men. Despite the high amount of achievement and participation that women have made in the labor force in recent decades, they are still struggling with the access to the upper level positions in the organization. This barrier to vertical movement for women in the workforce is commonly known as “glass ceiling”“.

This metaphor of glass ceiling represents the invisible and artificial barrier that women experience at some point during their progress toward high-ranking positions (Sampson & Moore, 2008). It tends to limit their advancement opportunities regardless of how much deserving or qualified they are. This barrier exists due to many reasons and in many forms. This research paper seeks to examine the predictors and causes of the glass ceiling. It highlights the effects of glass ceiling in terms of wage gaps and promotion.

Furthermore, it focuses on how the difference in negotiation styles, sex segregation and sex discrimination in the workplace are the main predictors of the outcome. Literature Review The term “glass ceiling” has been used as a metaphor to describe the discrimination and inequality that the women struggle with in the organizations. One of the measures of the glass ceiling is a wage gap between men and women. It is globally accepted that the equality between men and women in the workplace in terms of salaries is a priority, however, a substantial wage gaps still remains a huge issue among numerous industries and countries (Sciccitano, 2012).

This is particularly evident in higher managerial positions. Thus, the presence of wage gap is the biggest predictor of the glass ceiling that prevents women to advance to top most career positions. The research suggests many causes of the existence of the gender pay gap. One of them is the different negotiation style between the two sexes. The negotiation occurs at all levels and departments in any firm. The studies show that as the negotiation skills are a must in order to advance up in career, achieve profits and earn a higher salary (Stuhlmacher & Walters, 1999).

In addition, studies show that the women are inherently not comfortable negotiating about their salaries, and when they do, they are treated differently than men. Thus, women do not gain much financial benefits from the negotiations, especially about wage (Gonas & Bergman, 2009). Therefore, from the above studies, the following hypothesis is formulated: Hypothesis 1: Different negotiation styles between men and women are positively correlated with wage gaps. Another cause of gender wage gap is sex segregation of occupations.

Even today, many organizations separate the jobs as ‘male’s jobs’ and ‘female’s jobs’. Around 70% of the most common jobs for women are sex segregated such as cashiers, nurses, secretaries, elementary school teachers and servers, that are usually characterized by low pay (Bell, McLaughlin & Sequeira, 2002). Due to social structures, ‘women’s work’ is often devalued and the job skills that are female-dominated are paid worse (Perales, 2013). The segregated labor market is the significant cause of unequal reward system between the two sexes (Hultin, 2003).

Further research shows that the salary gap is widening overtime (Sampson & Moore, 2008). Thus, the second hypothesis is as follows: Hypothesis 2: Sex segregation of jobs is positively linked to wage gaps. Finally, the discrimination in the workplace based on sex is causing women to be less likely to get promoted into higher levels. The research shows that women have lower promotion rates than men under the same circumstances and chances (Lopes Henriques & Curado, 2013).

Furthermore, studies also show that gender-based discrimination is not only present but it more intense at higher levels (Baxter & Wright, 2000). Thus, due to the reasons sated above, women find limited path to managerial and higher positions in the organizations. So, the last hypothesis that is formulated from the studies is as follows: Hypothesis 3: Sex discrimination is positively correlated with promotion. Variables Since, the two measures of ‘glass ceiling’ used in this paper are wage gap and promotion, they are represented as the dependent variables (or cause).

The hypothesis 1 and 2 state that the wage gap is the cause of the different negotiation styles between the men and the women as well as the sex segregation of the occupations. Similarly, the hypothesis 3 states that the promotion is caused due to the sex discrimination in the workplace. Thus, the gender wage gap and promotion are dependent on these independent variables (or predictors) which are negotiation style, sex segregation of occupations and sex discrimination in the workplace.

Methodology Sample The focus of analysis is the large corporation. The sample constituted the top 50 corporations (mostly US based companies) that were all part of the Fortune 500. These companies are large sized and are ranked by the total revenues they generated. The sample includes both public corporation and private companies. From each of the 50 companies, 100 women employees were distributed the invitational letters to participate in this study. Thus, there were 5000 (50*100) women employees that represent the sample of the study.

The population is all the women working in these corporations as well as other corporations outside the Fortune 500 list. Out of 5000 female employees that were given a letter to participate, only 3000 responded. Out of those only 2500 women said that they were interested in participating in the study. Method To measure the awareness of the Glass Ceiling, a pilot study was conducted first to a small number of women, approximately 250, in the small corporations in the local region.

As a result, a 78-item questionnaire was edited and finalized that focused on the following areas: (1) the types of career barrier(s) they face, if any, at their workplace; (2) the root causes behind these carrier barrier(s) (3) perceptions of organizational initiatives taken to reduce these barriers The former part of the survey questionnaire asked direct personal questions such as their age, race, education qualification, marital status, salary, occupation type/ position, size of the firm they work at, total number of working experience outside their current firm, and total number of years working for their current firm.

The latter part of the survey included question items that were rated on a 5 point Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), where 3 being “neutral”. The items were designed both positively and negatively. For instance, “I am always invited to the company’s informal events along with my male coworkers”, “I feel that my opinions is not as much heard as my male coworkers” (ackson, 2001). The end of questionnaire included a small optional openended item for any comments or suggestion on what their perception of their firm’s policies and their career strategy is.

The survey questionnaire was both mailed and emailed to all 2500 women. The response rate was 100% as all 2500 women completed the questionnaire. To know how many women are in top positions, the total percentage of women working in the top class officers were calculated for each company. Although, all companies have different definition of the corporate officer class, there is some degree of similarity. Most companies labeled the top officer titles as Chairman, CEO, CFO, Presidents and Executives of key functional areas like Human Resources, Finance, Sales, IT, Sales, Research and Development and Operations.

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