The age old argument of men making more than women is continues to rear its ugly head in a recent Bloomberg Report comparison of the top CEOs and their salaries.
First – only eight percent of the CEOs in the S&Ps 500 index companies are women.
Second – the women earned an average of 18% less than their men counterparts.
Women tend to be considered on the basis of their performance, while men are often promoted for their potential.
Take one famous study about letters of recommendation for medical faculty at a large U.S. medical school in the mid-1990s. The authors of the study found that women candidates were more likely to be complimented for what they call “grindstone adjectives”: words like “hardworking,” “conscientious,” “dependable,” “meticulous,” “diligent,” “dedicated,” “careful.” They were also often praised for being “team players” and “collaborative.” The men, by contrast, were more likely to be described with “standout adjectives,” like “outstanding,” “superb,” or “exceptional.”
And it isn’t just how we are perceived but we also have to consider how we perceive ourselves – do we think “superb” or do we think “dependable?”
Yang doesn’t have an answer to the problem but she suggests that it is a two-sided issue – not only do women have to negotiate for their potential but the person on the other side of the table has to view them for the difference they can make versus the work they have accomplished in the past. Only then will the pay differences between men and women disintegrate.