Study Reveals Women Promoted Half as Often as Men

In advance of International Women’s Day, leading HR technology disruptor HiBob is releasing the results of its latest study, “​​Professional Women in the Modern US Workplace.” This report shows the imbalance between women and men in today’s economic uncertainty-impacted workplace, particularly in areas regarding promotions, salary transparency and flexibility. Most importantly, the results uncovered that while the same percentage (46%) of men and women respondents were given pay increases in 2022, only 21% of women were promoted compared to 35% of men. Additionally, more men (23%) received an increase in benefits than women (15%).

“It’s disappointing to see these inequalities continue to emerge in the U.S. professional workplaces,” said Ronni Zehavi, co-founder and CEO of HiBob. “It’s unsurprising that men and women have different perspectives, but it’s important to note that despite years of focus on women’s equality and  progression, women still feel their workplaces are lagging in diversity and inclusivity. It has been proven time and time again that diversity and inclusion build better and stronger company culture, and successful, more resilient businesses. Leaders need a strategic way forward to combat these inequalities that lead to turnover and poor performance.”

Economic impact

In addition to the fact that a smaller percentage of women than men were promoted in 2022, 40% of the women respondents predict the economic downturn will deprioritize and slow the progress of women’s promotions in the workplace. Conversely 40% of male respondents said the economic downturn will not impact women’s promotions at all.

“The data gleaned from HR platforms is the best tool for today’s modern businesses to identify inequalities and assist HR teams to create strategic rewards and recognition plans. As an organization working with over 3,000 companies worldwide, we see the measurable impact that technology and data can have on improving employee engagement, productivity, and retention.”

Men and women are aligned on job security, with more than half of all respondents (55%) concerned about being let go during the downturn. Despite this, the majority of men (52%) and women (57%) stated they are not feeling pressured to come into the office.

Promotions, advancement, and confidence

HiBob’s survey indicates a clear difference between men and women when it comes to equity in promotions and advancement opportunities.

  • Sixty-nine percent of men and 54% of women agreed that women are promoted equally to men within their company. However, 38% of women believe that men at their company are promoted more, an increase from HiBob’s comparable study in 2022.
  • A fifth of male respondents (20%) feel their male colleagues are promoted more than women, while 38% of female respondents feel their male colleagues are promoted more.
  • Despite disparities in promotion and pay, both men (83%) and women (80%) feel confident in their job performance.

This misalignment is also clear in perceptions of diversity initiatives. The survey shows almost half (48%) of men believe their company has made a visible commitment to developing more female leaders in 2023, compared to just 38% of women.

Salary perceptions

Men and women also feel differently about pay equity and transparency – which is unsurprising given that women earned an estimated 82 cents to every dollar men earned in 2021. Specific findings include:

  • Around two thirds (67%) of men feel women and men are paid equally at their company, with 36% of women answering that men are paid more.
  • Despite legislative movement for more pay transparency across the U.S., almost twice as many women (27%) as men (18%) believe their organization is not making efforts to improve salary transparency.
  • When asked what would convince someone to move to a new role, 10% more women than men said a “pay increase,” despite both genders being similarly worried about being let go during the economic crisis.

“Trust is evidently lacking among women who indicate that they do not feel their employers are taking the necessary steps towards creating fairer and more equitable opportunities for them. This mismatch in perception won’t be solved without the necessary tools to provide the transparency needed to dispel views expressed. Eliminating the gray area when it comes to pay is essential to achieving gender equality, and it will pay dividends in employee engagement and retention. In a time where layoffs, restructurings and upskilling are occurring, it’s particularly important to make sure female employees are being paid the same as their male counterparts, especially as they take on additional skills, tasks, and responsibilities.

“Organizations understand they have an obligation to offer equal opportunities for growth, and to promote a culture of acceptance and support but even with the best intentions, there is often no clear way to measure whether companies actually succeed in doing this. Tracking and monitoring of pay and promotions, as well as DE&I goals needs good data from good people management platforms to identify where improvements are necessary. The best HR platforms offer purpose-built dashboards that allow a business to examine company trends in these areas.” Zehavi added.

Work-life balance and benefits

Looking ahead, female workers are not expecting further progress when it comes to work/life balance. Nearly twice as many women as men expect no change to their work/life balance in 2023, while 37% of men say they expect it to get much better or just “better.” Interestingly, more than half (51%) of total respondents said they do not feel more pressure to come into the office as the economy worsens.

When asked to rank the top reasons for coming into the office, men and women prioritize differently.

  • Men rank their top reason as “interaction with colleagues” with “easier communication with managers and teams” as their second priority.
  • Women rank “office mandates” first with “interaction with colleagues” as their second reason for working from the office.

Women and men may have differing definitions of “female-focused benefits.” Twice as many women answered that their companies offer women-specific benefits (34%) compared to men (15%). However, twice as many men (23%) than women (11%) appeared to work for companies that offer time off for menopause.

The national survey was conducted online by Pollfish on behalf of HiBob in January 2023. It includes responses from 2,000 full-time employees aged 25 and over. The survey measured the views of male (45.8%) and female (54.2%) respondents.

Find more information here.

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