Education - Page 6 - Ask Margit, from page 1

- Page 6
Ask Margit, from page 1

to work in fields that offer lower incomes.

Although women have surpassed men in educational attainment, they are vastly underrepresented in top-paying jobs. About 40 percent of women born in America in 1985 hold college degrees, compared to just under 30 percent of men – yet women’s educational advantage hasn’t led to higher pay. One reason for the pay gap: college-educated women, more often than men, avoid majors that lead to higher-earning occupations.

• Psychological differences between men and women could account for up to 10 percent of the pay gap. Research concludes that women are more risk-averse than men. The willingness to take risks helps employees compete for higher paying jobs and negotiate higher salaries. Too often, women undervalue their worth and are reticent to ask for a pay increase. This behavior is continuing with female workers in their 20s and 30s. Are men and women are born with different attitudes toward risk or the differences are taught? Is it nature versus nurture? That’s still to be determined.

• Women retain the primary responsibility for child care, housework and other life chores outside of work. Higher paying occupations are more inflexible and require more time commitment. Women have a harder time with this inflexibility. Childcare is one of the most prominent factors holding back women’s earnings at the executive level.

Bertrand’s research also found that when wives earn more than their husbands do, it is difficult on the relationship, and the marriage is more likely to be unhappy or end in divorce. But she’s hopeful that the situation will change with technological advances.

Fast Company cited a McKinsey & Company report titled Women in the Workplace 2018. It’s opening statement was rather depressing: “Progress on gender diversity at work has stalled. To achieve equality, companies must turn good intentions into concrete action.” Statistics quoted in the report were also not encouraging: For every 100 male managers, there are only 79 women. And for women of color, only 60 are managers.

For every 100 men promoted to manager, just 79 women are. And the news is worse for women of color. “Most notably, for every 100 men promoted to manager, 60 black women are,” the report found. Largely because of these gender gaps, men end up holding 62 percent of manager positions, while women hold only 38 percent. This means that inequality affects the pipeline to better jobs.

Meanwhile, what can women do to change the status quo.

• Learn to ask for what you’re worth.And learn to negotiate. You can negotiate down, not up. And ask for the extras, like perks. Before stating a salary requirement, do your research. There are lots of websites that will give you pay ranges. “Abby S.” was up for a job that required an intricate skill set, something she possessed. She asked for $60,000, a figure she felt was reasonable. When she asked a male friend, he was appalled. “You should have asked for at least $80,000.”

• Own your power. “Amy M.” did her boss’s work for years but wasn’t compensated – or her work acknowledged. When she was repeatedly turned down for raises and promotions, she finally changed companies.

• Don’t be afraid to be a leader. If you’re good, own it.

• Accept that you can’t have it all at one time. Pace yourself.

Your education – undergraduate and graduate – is the building block to achieving your goals. Don’t be afraid to study subjects that lead to higher incomes in the future. Use group projects and extracurricular activities to learn how to lead and command. Develop your strengths. Be fearless. You can do it. •