Development of policies related to pay and promotion is key to fairness in a multicultural situation. It is widely published that women make about 77 percent of what men earn for similar jobs. 1 Many studies have tried to determine a cause for this pay inequity, and here are some of the possible reasons studied and researched:
- Hours worked. Studies have said that women tend to work fewer hours because of child-care and housework expectations.
- Occupational choice. A study performed by Anne York at Meredith College 2found that women tend to choose careers that pay less because they are worried about balancing family and career. In addition, numerous studies show that women choose careers on the basis of gender stereotypes (e.g., nurse, teacher) and that this leads to lower pay.
- Stereotypes. The concept of male bias is a possibility. In many studies, people were more likely to choose male doctors over female doctors, even when experience and education were the same. 3 There appears to be a perception that men may be more competent in certain types of jobs.
- Maternity and family leave. Women leaving the workforce for a short or extended period of time may affect the perception of promotability in the workplace.
- Salary negotiation. A study performed by Bowles and Babcock 4 showed that men were eight times more likely to negotiate salary than women. In addition, when women did negotiate, they received lower monetary returns. Consider a study performed by Cornell University, which found that women were often negatively affected in their job when they negotiated salary, as compared to men not being viewed negatively after negotiations.
Whatever the reason for pay difference, all managers should be aware of these differences when hiring and promoting. Allowing managers to determine the pay for their employees can also bring out negative stereotypes—and lead to breaking of the law. Determining a set pay schedule for all new and promoted employees can help remedy this situation.
A factor in promotions can also be the mentor-mentee relationship. Most individuals in organizations will have an informal mentor who helps them “through the ranks.” Traditionally, this informal mentor relationship results in someone “pairing up” with another who has similar physical characteristics, is the same gender, or has a similar mind-set. As a result, if the organization has, for example, mostly men, it is likely the female will not be informally mentored, which can result in lack of promotion. Likewise, if the workforce consists of mostly Caucasian females, it is likely the African American male may not develop an informal mentor relationship with his female counterparts. Development of a formal mentorship program to ensure that everyone has a mentor is one way to alleviate this situation. Mentorship programs are discussed in Chapter 8 "Training and Development".