Women still make less than men
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently released results from a report showing that Millennial women make 82 cents for every dollar a Millennial male makes. These results are derived from a study monitoring the earnings of men and women just one year out of college who majored in the same area of study and had similar work experience.
Numerous researchers have done similar studies in which they controlled several variables (title, education, etc.) so that obvious answers like men working in more challenging fields or women not being bold enough to ask for a raise could essentially be ruled out. So why are women still being paid less?
As a recent college graduate…
Because this study is focusing specifically on Millennials with only one year of work experience outside of college, my guess is that interviewers perceive men to have been more accomplished during their time in school and work. As a recent college graduate, we were often told to emphasize our role in class projects and the value we brought to a company or client during an internship.
When a female talks about her experience, the interviewer may applaud, but not think too much of it. When a male describes his similar internship experience, he is seen as a leader and authoritative figure in the group who made invaluable contributions, and thus gets a higher starting salary.
A perception problem
If two genders are coming out of college with the same experience and collegiate background, and men and the male counterparts are getting paid more right out of college and one year later, there must be a difference in perception. The contributions that a woman makes just don’t hold the same value as the contributions of a man. I’m not sure why these differences exist if the variables are the same between both groups (same work experience, same major, both ask for a raise and provide adequate reason, maintaining a strong demeanor and sense of professionalism, etc.).
I would suggest that if a woman is in an interview, and is asked about her leadership skills, she go into a deep description of the different personality types she had to deal with, both from men and women. Showing the ability to gain respect from both genders gets rid of the perception that women who are lauded for leading a college group project or a work team in their first year after college were only able to do so because they were working with a bunch of women; it’s not any easier to lead a woman instead of man, but the job market seems to have a difference in connotation. Adversity is key in showing that a candidate is able to rise to any challenge.
By highlighting the ability to lead any individual, perhaps it will change the way the interviewer looks at the bullet points on a woman’s resume and help value women at a more equal level to men.