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There’s a massive pay gap between men and women who work from home

There’s a massive pay gap between men and women who work from home
[Photo: Thought Catalog/Unsplash]

It’s Equal Pay Day, the symbolic annual point when the average woman’s pay finally matches the previous year’s pay for a male counterpart. According to Census data, the average female worker earns 81 cents for every dollar the average man earns. Of course, averages do not account for factors such as race, role, or even parental status. And they don’t take into account whether or not someone is working remotely.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has forced a large chunk of white-collar workers into their homes—many for the first time in their professional lives—the wage gap among remote workers even before the crisis was glaring. An annual study of the gender pay gap for remote workers from Owl Labs, conducted before many were ordered to shelter in place, shows just how big the discrepancy is. The poll included 1,598 U.S.-based respondents who are employed full-time. Here are some of the key findings:

  • There was a 6X year-over-year increase in gender pay disparity among full-time remote workers.
  • Fathers who work remotely full-time are 233% more likely to earn $100,000 than mothers who work remotely full-time.
  • Men who work remotely full-time are 157% more likely to earn salaries of $100,000 or more than women who work remotely full-time.
  • Men are 126% more likely than women to believe they can achieve two or more promotions within five years.

According to Owl Labs’ analysis, the women with children who choose to work from home were 230% more likely to list saving money/financial reasons as the main driver for working remotely than women who don’t have children. Fathers are 288% more likely to cite this reason as well.

However, the data in the report suggests that the motherhood penalty (women make less after they have kids for reasons such as taking time away from work for caregiving) and the fatherhood bonus (the male parent rises in status to become the breadwinner) continue to be factors in earnings.

There is one bright spot for those who work from home full-time (regardless of their gender): they are 21% more likely to earn salaries of $100,000 or more than those who never work remotely.

But it’s important to remember that closing the gender pay gap could add over $500 billion to the GDP. Unfortunately, among the millions who have lost jobs or will lose jobs during the coronavirus crisis, 62% of minimum-wage and lower-wage workers are women who can’t work from home and are losing income as restaurants, hotels, and airports have shuttered to stop the spread of the virus.

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