Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

The Ugly Truth About Gender Wage Gaps

Industry Commentary

The gender wage gap is alive and well and still rearing its ugly head in the workplace.

With all our progress towards equal pay, it’s unfortunately still a fact that men and women are not always compensated equally. A recent Time Magazine article compared the salaries of women and men working in the same field and found that women were consistently paid lower salaries than their male counterparts—15 percent less at ages 22-25 and 38 percent less at ages 51-64. According to Time, “Men outearn women on average in hundreds of occupations”. The actual gender wage gap differed among various professions, but women always earned less than the men in an astonishingly large range of occupations such as bartender, truck driver, secretary, athlete and coach, actor, nurse, engineer, financial professional, lawyer and doctor.

Women ages 51-64 make 38% less than men in the same positions

While corporate America is certainly to blame, women too must be vigilant for what they can do themselves to close the gender pay gap. For example, Sheryl Sandberg the former CEO of Facebook and author of Lean In, a book about empowering women in the workplace. She discussed the importance of women taking it upon themselves to pursue greater opportunities at work and the salary to match. From my personal experience working with men and women professionally, here is what I have noticed about the differences between how men and women approach jobs.

  • Women are less likely to say yes to a job if they aren’t a 100% match, while men always try to insist that they are a match when they aren’t.

Of all of the placements I’ve made since 2008…

  • 52 percent of the men I placed asked for a better offer, and of those that asked, 71 percent got it
  • 36 percent of women I placed asked for a better offer, and of those that asked 57 percent got it
  • In general, women are less likely to put themselves out there and act as though they have earned their position and prestige.

There is no denying that the gender pay gap in the professional world is a systemic problem, but that doesn’t mean women are powerless to fight it. Ladies, don’t be afraid to push back, go for that higher-paying position, ask for a raise and be assertive! Always demand what you deserve in your workplace, and don’t let anyone treat you differently from men. You’re worth it!

Brooke Ziolo

President / Executive Recruiter

Brooke has been recruiting in the lighting industry since 2008. Her expertise includes recruiting in lighting manufacturing, lighting design, ESCO’s and rep agencies with positions ranging from mid-level to C-Suite / Executive level in sales, marketing, engineering, operations, product management, lighting design, etc. Brooke is also a member of the IALD, IES, WILD and The Pinnacle Society.