October 14th, 2011
07:14 AM GMT
(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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