October 14th, 2011
07:14 AM GMT
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(CNN) – A new Catalyst study examining career advancement strategies has debunked the myth that women make less because they don’t ask—they do, they just aren’t being heard.

According to the study, men who employ traditional career advancement strategies—such as making your willingness to put in time and effort known and accepting challenges—are more likely to be rewarded, in the form of promotions or pay raises, than men who don’t.

However, women who adopted these strategies were not much more likely to advance than women who didn’t.

“This study busts the myth that ‘Women don’t ask.’ In fact, they do! But it doesn’t get them very far. Men, by contrast, don’t have to ask. What’s wrong with this picture?” Ilene H. Lang, President and CEO of Catalyst, said in a release.

The study suggests that women are rewarded for consistent performance whereas men are rewarded for potential. Women who changed jobs two or more times after completing their MBA earned $53,472 less than women who rose through promotions at their first organization. Men, on the other hand, made $13,743 more if they switched jobs after completing their MBA than if they stayed.

This translates into a $4,600 salary gap between men and women in their first job after completing an MBA, which balloons to a $31,258 gap mid-career.

While the pay gap between male and female executives was narrowing, at the current rate it would still take 98 years to close the gap in the UK, according to a study last month by the Chartered Management Institute.

A United Nations report entitled “Progress of the World’s Women” notes that worldwide, women are paid 10-30% less than men and 23% less in the U.S. The report cites maternity leave legislation and practices as key in guaranteeing equal opportunity, noting that the U.S. is “the only developed country that does not specify that [maternity] leave must be paid.”

A 2005 World Economic Forum study reports that worldwide, Nordic countries, notably Sweden, perform best in terms of gender equality. The report credits this to their generous maternity leave policies; the UN report shows that Sweden has 480 days of paid maternity leave, as well as paid, mandatory paternity leave.

Women are, not surprisingly, less satisfied with their career advancement than men, Catalyst reports, challenging the notion that women seek slower career tracks.

Perhaps the most important thing Catalyst revealed was that women need to employ different career advancement strategies than men. Women advanced further when they made their achievements known and networked with influential people. Men, while also benefiting from networking, did not see much benefit from making their achievements known, but rather through expressing willingness to work long hours and being aware of opportunities outside their organization, study authors said.

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Maybe it's just the people that I know, but I know of quite a few women who make a LOT of money. Many make more than me which I think is great for them. The women I know who make less, purposely choose to work less because their family is more important to them than their careers. They could easily make a lot if they wanted to.

    So, this really makes me question if women really make less, or if the numbers are just distorted because more women on average than men choose to work less and therefore make less.

    October 14, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  2. Amaterus

    If you think you are treated unfairly but know that company sucks without you, then tell them that you might leave.
    Good people are always pitied for their departure, and that’s their REAL measure in asset value.
    Because there’s always BS in rewards, recognitions, and all that lot, but there is no BS in peoples worried faces is there?)
    On the other hand, questionable people leaving only welcomes immediate farewell (lol).

    October 14, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  3. Rayan

    Every place that I've ever worked before, there was usually a woman (or women) working there who were less qualified than me, who did far less work than I did and were much worse at their jobs, and yet got paid significantly more than me.

    I know that's just 30+ years of anecdotal evidence, and not exactly scientific, and maybe only representative of the three US states, 3 countries and 3 continents that I've worked in... so not quite scientific... but in my life the income disparity is the opposite of what everyone complains about.
    I think the biggest male advantage in income shows up only at the very highest levels, such as among corporate CEOs and other ultra-wealthy people where the majority of wealth in concentrated.

    October 14, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  4. wuatalis

    I hope you're joking, half of the women are now CEO in the West.

    October 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  5. jerry

    until women stop asking for men to foot the bill for everything, or women start buy US the drinks at the bar, women son't NEED to make more than men....and women always expect us to pay for everything....even after marriage!

    October 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  6. Woman

    @Jerry - even as a poor college student struggling to buy groceries, I bought my own drinks, thank you very much. And I supported my ex for 6 months while he went through a rough patch at work (we were as "married" as you can be without the piece of paper - and, no, I don't want to get married). But nice try. Maybe you should find a woman with a bit of dignity who's ready and willing to be your EQUAL, not your trophy.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  7. Mari

    There are women so mercantile and lazy that I just agree with Jerry. On the other hand, Woman is right – there are still women who are women with dignity and they do not need some man's money.

    October 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  8. Mariah

    I agree with Woman. Jerry seems to have had some pretty unpleasant experiences regarding women and bars, and uh Ryan, i think you've just been unlucky, that statistic doesn't seem scientific(yes, i know you said so) and referring to personal experience, your theory doesn't seem remotely valid. But then again, who knows right?

    October 14, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  9. Heather

    I am a school teacher. One thing I like about my career is that in most places, there is a published, public salary scale. You just look on the chart– X years experience + X years education = your salary. There is no negotiating or wondering what everyone else is getting. I can see the value in the merit-based pay system too, of course, but I really like the fairness and transparency of the pay scales.

    October 15, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  10. Jim

    don't know where this article got it's data from but definitely not at my company. The women here at worst make similar amounts to men but likely more everything else being equal.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:16 am |
  11. Kyle H. Davis

    "UN report shows that Sweden has 480 days of paid maternity leave, as well as paid, mandatory paternity leave.“

    Now THAT is equal treatment.

    To be honest, I am completely against paid maternity leave; but then again, I am against any decision based perks dealing with marriage and children. Having a child is a decision in which the economics of it should be considered before having one. I wouldn't buy a dog if I didn't have the money to support feeding and caring for it... why is having a child any different? It's the same for marriage/child tax credits. Why should the unmarried and childless have to foot the extra money for a decision that someone else made?

    w-w-w dot kyle dot cn/?p=811

    October 15, 2011 at 4:12 am |
  12. tom

    So then women are not asking loudly enough – not putting themselves at risk.

    October 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Allan

    I guess this study was done in China. Just check the currency in the picture. Those are Chinese 5 Yuan notes. Men still advance faster and higher than women in China.

    October 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  14. Kyle H. Davis

    Wow... what did I say in my initial comment that deemed it necessary to remove it?

    October 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I've NEVER worked with a woman pulling her weight even close to the men I have worked for. Fact.....get over it ladies. If you want equal pay be equal...in everything.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  16. Shmuel

    Why should there be gender equality?

    October 16, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  17. CallyPendragon

    I work in the public schools. I have a bachlor's degree and many years experience in the schools – equivilant or better than many teachers and I make below poverty-level wages; yet they expect me to stay in this job/position for many years to come. I am highly qualified in my field and all of my qualifications were summerily ignored upon hiring. They liked my qualifications- but they don't mean anything when it comes to pay. I will NEVER make the equivilant or even a quarter of what my husband makes no matter how qualified I get even though he is in a mid-level job. What people dont realize is that as a woman, unless you are a CEO you will NEVER make equal pay to men. And we're just supposed to accept this... ?

    October 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  18. Cosy

    I totally agree with WOMAN. I was in the same situation that you described for a while until he was back on his feet (yes, we were married and still are). Yes, I was making more than him and now things have shifted a little (career wise) and I am below pay. But we are strong. Meanwhile, I am waiting and working until I get back on my real field. So, men out there, please understand that it could be one way or the other. Day by day!!!

    October 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  19. Cosy

    Oh Cally, Cally.................which state are you in? Are you a teacher or do you hold a white collar job in the system? I also worked for a public school system for many years. It welcomed me with opened arms; they even help teachers get a master's degree (which I did) and that put me $3,200 over the great salary scale step I was in. Maybe you need to find another school board that will pay you for your education and years of experience. Never settle for less.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  20. ssneezers

    I have worked in a male dominated industry for many years. When I think back to co workers and managers I have worked with over the year as to who in general did a better job, I would say the women did. Not always, but in general.

    It seems to me that the guys would socialize with other guys and they would get more opportunities at work than a woman did. they would play sports after work and hang out at the pub together. As a woman, you just weren't going to go hang out with a bunch of men drinking and playing sports. You weren't invited anyway.

    I recall one manager who could barely speak English. I would cringe reading this guy's daily status reports filled will misspellings and incoherent ramblings, but for some unknown reason he was liked and stayed a manager.

    I do agree that making what you do known is very important. Nobody knows you are doing a fantastic job at x or are an expert in y unless you toot your own horn. As for pay, I just ask for what I am worth. If a company tries any funny business, there are a dozen other companies ready to steal me away.

    October 17, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  21. Crookkk

    All i heard women in the West good act as CEO in gold digger ! Good luck !

    October 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  22. Tenebris

    @ jerry
    "until women stop asking for men to foot the bill for everything, or women start buy US the drinks at the bar, women son't NEED to make more than men....and women always expect us to pay for everything....even after marriage!"

    *laugh* That is the *identical* argument used in Islam to justify why women only get half the inheritance that men do.

    October 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  23. Rob

    What's new. Father's ask for more right, but aren't heard. If women are to get more raises, does this mean fathers get a 50/50 chance in custody court. Gays, and animals have more right than fathers!

    Maybe if women are willing to work 10+ hours per day at the office, or 12+ in all types of weather without using their kids as a reason to take off work early... Maybe, just maybe the "real" workforce would lend them an ear. The majority of women value their free time aren't advocates of "women in charge" because they don't want everything that comes with the pay. <–FACT!

    October 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  24. lucullus

    Oh gawd...yet another "woman as victim" article. WIll this boring trend ever cease?

    November 11, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  25. lucullus

    Until women are forced to go fight in wars...they aren't allowed to put their snouts in the trough.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:24 am |
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    December 1, 2011 at 4:59 am |
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