How office politics affects the gender gap in the UK and US
It’s hard to ignore the overwhelming evidence that on average women on both sides of the pond lag in comparison to their male peers in both promotion and compensation. How this is even legally allowed to be the case is another issue entirely but, in order to help explain the work place gender gap, recent surveys have shed a little light on what we might previously have dismissed as mere office politics.
In 2013 The Washington Post reported that 15% of working women in the US said they felt they were looked over for a promotion because of their gender at least once in their careers. 13% also said they felt they were denied the same raise a male counterpart with similar credentials received.
Now, we wondered that these percentages actually seemed a little low. The Washington Post columnist Jena McGregor agrees, and postulates as to why these percentages aren’t higher. She wonders that the gap, although still in need of much more progress, is shrinking.
Possible, of course, but we think a potentially more plausible suggestion comes from Heidi Hartmann, president of the research nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She points out that about half of all employees work in what happen to be ‘sex-segregated’ jobs, or fields that are predominantly (75% or more) male or female. As a result, more women are likely to feel they aren’t being discriminated against for their gender, per se. A nurse, for example, isn’t comparing herself to an engineer; she’s comparing herself to other nurses, most of whom are female. ‘You’re not likely to perceive discrimination when you’re not in an environment where you’re surrounded by people of the opposite sex getting promoted and you’re not,’ Hartmann clarifies.
Meanwhile in the UK, new research by social job referral site GigPlug has revealed that of the 3000 UK-based participants, women are far more job-loyal and strategic than men. Essentially they’re happy to play the long game while their male counterparts revert to alpha-male type tendencies. Indeed, men are seemingly far more ruthless in their approach to getting ahead in the work place, with one in five willing to go direct to the boss to ask for a promotion compared to just one in ten women.
Showing no mercy, one in four men admitted a willingness to stab their colleagues in the back in order to get ahead, versus one in five women. And, perhaps most shockingly, one in five men also had no qualms whatsoever about sleeping with the boss to curry favour. Just one in ten women felt the same way.
‘Clearly the gender gap is still very much evident in the workplace’, GigPlug founder Phil Hakim told us. ‘The alpha male will do anything he can to get to the top. Women are far more considered and less flighty when it comes to career progression, more than likely looking at the bigger picture of job satisfaction rather than just the obvious things, such as salary and promotion. Employers should take note that, in order to have a happy and productive workplace, it is vital to embrace as diverse a workplace as possible’.
Men and women working together to appreciate each other’s strengths and supplement their weaknesses? Yes, that sounds like a pretty wonderful workplace to us!
GigPlug is a new technology platform that turns consumers into part time recruiters and makes them money from their smartphone. The platform uses a newly developed algorithm that matches your social contacts with a database of new jobs. Upon matching the professional experience of a contact with the criteria of a job posted on GigPlug, the platform invites you to refer your friend for the job via one easy click, delivering you a bounty payment of up to £2500 if your friend takes the role. Currently there are bounty payments amounting to £100,000 on the platform.