Here is a new explanation for the gender gap at work: women don't show potential. Of course, that's not the truth, but it seems to be what many employers believe. A recent study claims that women need to show a proven track record of great work in order to get promoted, while men need only show the promise of potential for future greatness.
The study was undertaken by Catalyst, a non-profit research group that focuses on promoting women in business. The group looked at the careers of 3,345 “high-potential” MBA graduates from top schools around the world. These graduates were then divided into three categories: stayers, leavers, and job-hoppers.
The group found that women do better financially when they stay at one job. Men, on the other hand, profit from inter-company job changes. Women job-hoppers – those who switched companies at least twice – earned $53,472 less than women stayers (people who remained with the same company that hired them out of school). But male leavers (one job change) earned roughly $13,743 more than stayers.
The idea behind this discrepancy is that women are paid based on proven performance. By staying at the same company over time, they earn respect and trust, and reap the rewards. Researchers also found that women need to toot their own horns more than men in order to be noticed. Males, apparently, need only show up or appear to have “potential.”
Unsurprisingly, then, the study also found that men were more likely to reach senior executive or CEO positions. They also made, on average, $31,258 more than women. It is interesting to note that, while that figure is extremely large, it is not as wide a gap as the one between the female stayers and the female job-hoppers.
"Among those using the greatest strategies to get ahead, women and men are equally represented there,” Christine Silva, senior researcher and the study’s co-author, told the Toronto Sun. “We have to stop blaming women for the gender gap. We have to stop assuming the gender gap exists because of what women are or are not doing."
Does this study ring true to your own experiences? Do you think men get promoted based on potential? And is it harder for women to find those big opportunities?