Gender Pay Gap Really Does Exist

Nancy Anderson
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A comprehensive study and examination published by Gallup in late October 2016 shows that the gender pay gap really does exist, as opposed to some critics who say it's all a perception problem. The study's authors say that the pay gap between men and women hasn't changed in the past 10 years. The study examines two reasons why.

Gallup focused its study regarding the gender pay gap on the perceptions of hours worked by men and women versus the actual working time by both genders. These examinations illuminate two of the many facets that contribute to women earning 83 percent of the wages men earn.


Part of the perception that women work less than men may come from how hard managers believe their employees work. Gallup cited a study by the American Payroll Association that found 36 percent of respondents said their companies do not require them to record the number of hours worked. Further, many firms simply hire people to work at a certain salary while recording only 40 hours per week of work. Anyone who works more than 40 hours may not get paid for their extra contributions.

Managers may only reward employees based on the hard numbers of hours worked rather than the quality of work versus the hours. An employee working 40 hours may get more done than someone who works 50 hours, but managers may not track such metrics. Performance management software can narrow this performance gap and reveal who works the hardest regardless of gender.

Overtime rules instituted by the Department of Labor in 2016 may also help with the gender pay gap. Rules increased the threshold under which people deserve time and a half for overtime pay. In the past, anyone making more than $23,660 per year didn't get to make overtime if they were a salaried, rather than hourly, employee. The Department of Labor upped that threshold to $47,000. That means anyone making less than that figure gets overtime, regardless of salary versus hourly status. The overtime rules help bridge the gap between perception of work and reality.


The reality of the situation is that the gender pay gap exists because men typically work more physical hours than women. In salaried positions, Gallup found that 28 percent of men work between 50 and 59 hours per week versus just 16 percent of women. For hourly wages, 10 percent of men work more than 60 hours per week versus just 3 percent of women.

Gallup concluded that the reason for this facet of the gender pay gap is that women work two roles. They have a job at the office, and then they try to balance raising children at home. The survey company notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey that concluded 85 percent of women spend time doing household activities versus just 67 percent of men. While men do have a hand in raising children and making a home, women still spend more time as the primary caregiver for children.

The reasons for the gender pay gap are complex, and this study reveals what statisticians have said before. Women may make less money compared to men simply because they work fewer hours per week due to the choice to make family a priority at home.

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  • Tinaca H.
    Tinaca H.

    But it's not just gender gap, it's experience over a piece of paper. Not all who have passed the exam to get their PE or EIT have the experience to do their job and do it well. I've seen it, experienced it and seen projects fail because of it. And yet someone with years of experience will not not get hired or payed the same as someone with a with a PE or EIT. I do understand the signing of docs for a PE, don't get me wrong, but if you have multiple engineers working on projects, signing plans and docs is nothing if the work is being done correctly, on time and under budget.

  • rashad h.
    rashad h.

    that is good

  • Derek Bowen
    Derek Bowen

    It seems the Gallup organization has come to the conclusion that the "pay gap" exists because women choose to make career decisions based on quality of life, while men choose make career decisions based on productivity.

    I agree. I would like to see an "apples to apples" comparison, within several industries where men and women share the same positions, commitment level, experience, etc...

  • Martin R.
    Martin R.

    Thank you

  • James Blute
    James Blute

    I guess I thought it was directly proportionate to experience and performance, but I have only worked in manufacturing. I have had great mentors that were Six Sigma Black belts and super organized women.

  • Renee A.
    Renee A.

    of course it does and probably always will. Has anyone ever done a study as to having the same job as men vs. attendance/performance?

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