Millennials Cracking the Gender Pay Gap

By Rick Bell

Apr. 12, 2016

From the not-so-shocking files: A recent study by Glassdoor shows that the gender pay gap between men and women still exists.

Research from the San Francisco-based employer review, jobs and recruiting site remains consistent with other surveys, in that a woman earns about 76 cents for every dollar earned by a male counterpart.

“The unadjusted pay gap in the U.S. between men and women is 24.1 percent, meaning women earn about $0.76 for every $1.00 men earn,” Glassdoor’s research notes. “However, when we control for variables such as age, education, experience, occupation, industry, location, year, specific company and job title, the adjusted gender pay gap shrinks to 5.4 percent, which is still a notable and significant gap for which there appears to be no explanation.”

Please read: Wagering on Equal Wages

Which on the surface seems to be a sliver of good news, although it rings hollow when you consider this kicker: “That amounts to a lot of money lost: For example, if a woman earns $40,000 to $100,000 per year, she loses tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a 30-year career.”


The consequences of pay gap disparity grew bleaker in light of research from Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney pointing out the devastating long-term effects on women, their families and even the economy.

“Lower pay throughout their working lives means that women contribute less to retirement plans, receive lower pensions and lower Social Security benefits,” said Maloney, a New York Democrat and the ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee, citing research from a new report. “The result is that women have substantially less income than men in retirement and are much more likely to live in poverty as they grow older.”

Watch the video: U.S. Women’s Soccer Fights Income Inequality

Dire news, indeed. But given that April 12 is Equal Pay Day, another survey surfaced that may offer a glimmer of hope at closing the wage gap. Who do we have to thank for that?

Hello, millennials!

According to San Francisco-based job site Hired, (where “Companies apply to you, not the other way around”), women in technology, sales or marketing with two years or less experience received salary offers that were 7 percent higher than those received by equally inexperienced men.

That’s got to be encouraging, given the constant drumbeat we hear of gender pay inequity. But what’s even more surprising is how young women are attaining the bump in pay over the fellas. According to a story on CNN Money:

“Those junior women asked for 2 percent more in compensation than their male counterparts. That’s a surprising fact when you consider that most women typically asked for less up front – about $14,000 less on average than a man applying for the same post, the study found.”

So does this mean women who are veterans of the workforce are resigned to the fact they’ll be offered less money? Could be.

“It’s difficult to determine whether this is a symptom of unconscious gender bias in the hiring process or results from an ongoing cycle of women being underpaid, setting their salary expectations too low, and ultimately receiving less in subsequent roles,” said Hired data scientist Jessica Kirkpatrick, who wrote the report.

To say that all you have to do is ask for more money is oversimplifying a systemic problem. But is a lack of workplace experience a boon in this case? Are millennial women unaware that they are expected to make about 34 cents less than a man? Or are female millennials born with some bottom-line negotiating gene that drives a much harder bargain than their more experienced predecessors?

If the times in fact are changing as an entirely new generation sweeps over the workforce, today’s millennial mantra of “no risk, no reward” could take on a whole new meaning a decade from now.

Rick Bell is Workforce’s editorial director. For comments or questions email

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