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Fewer Women in Higher-Paying Roles Lead to Gender Wage Gap: Study

May 11, 2018

The key of gender pay gap probably does not necessarily lie in unequal wages that men and women receive, a global study commissioned by Korn Ferry suggested. Instead, it could be more owing to the fact that fewer women than men holding higher-paying jobs.

The Korn Ferry Gender Pay Index revealed that on average, men in 53 countries surveyed are paid 16.1 percent more than women. This finding might not come as a surprise, as the notion that the average woman is paid less than the average man is a statistic that has been demonstrated constantly in many studies.

However, the salary gap fell to 5.3 percent globally when it is evaluated on the same job levels alone, such as people holding a director position. The gap was further narrowed to 1.5 percent when considering the same level at the same company. If men and women at the same job level and in the same company were also in the same function, the gap between them even shrank to 0.5 percent, Straits Times reports.

These findings suggested that the real problem of the gender wage gap might be more reflective of the fact that women are less represented in better-paying jobs within an organisation, rather than companies failing to pay women as much as men for the same kind of work.

See: Global Talent Crunch Hampers Business Growth around the World: Study

Korn Ferry head of Rewards and Benefits Solutions, Bob Wesselkamper said, “This pay gap issue can be remedied if organisations address pay parity across the organisation and continue to strive to increase the percentage of women in the best-paying parts of the labour market, including the most senior roles and functions such as engineering and other technical disciplines.”

The study found that in Asia region, the average women make 15 percent less than their male counterparts. Interestingly, the widest gap was found in Asia’s mature markets such as Australia and New Zealand, where the pay gap was at 19.3 percent. Meanwhile in the growth markets such as China and India, the gap is lower at 14.4 per cent. Better performance was shown in the fast-growing markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam, where the gap narrows further to 11.5 percent.

This statistics suggested that female workers are actually more favoured in fast-growing markets, as they are paid 1.3 percent more than men working at the same level at the same company. Women are also paid 3.1 percent more than men at the same level, company and function in these markets.

Regarding to this, Dhritiman Chakrabarti, senior client partner, Regional Rewards and Benefits leader for Asia Pacific, Korn Ferry Hay Group, said, “Our research shows women have the skills and competencies needed to ascend to the highest levels within organisations, and it should be a business imperative for companies to help them get there.”

Read also: Singapore Has the Highest Adult Full-time Employment Rate in Asia: Gallup

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