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Are There “Men’s” Jobs and “Women’s Jobs”?

The US Department of Labor recently criticized Google suggesting that the tech giant was routinely underpaying its female employees.  Eileen Naughton, Google’s VP of people operations, refuted this claim, pointing out that Google conducts an annual gender blind pay equality analysis which reveals any pay discrepancies, and if any exist among any demographic group, their pay is adjusted accordingly.

Glassdoor, the job board and company review site, reviewed thousands of salaries as reported voluntarily by Google employees and found that women and men working similar jobs generally are paid the same.  Why then all the hub bub?  Because at Google women are paid 16% less than men overall.  This data doesn’t make sense if Glassdoor’s data suggests that men and women are paid equally for the same work.  This is where the confusion exists.  Men are not being paid more than women within the same roles, they are paid more on average because they occupy more senior roles that command higher salaries.  At Google for example, 52% of males worked as software engineers while only half as many women occupied that highly paid role.

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, said that men and women, for several reasons, are sorted into different jobs with different pay structures within the same company.  This separation is what economists refer to as occupational segregation and is responsible for about 54% of the gender pay gap in the U.S.

Google is not paying women less than men for equal work but it does appear to be favoring men for more senior positions.  Is this discrimination or is there a shortage of women from which to choose for the high paying roles such as software developer?  Going further, are men better equipped to fill certain roles than women and vice versa?  I have scoured the web and according to women, here are a few roles that men will never be better at than women and roles women will not be better at than men.

10 Jobs Men Will Never Be Able to Do Better Than Women

·         Marketing and advertising

·         Manager and supervisor

·         Waiting tables

·         Yoga/Fitness instructor

·         Dietician/Nutritionist

·         Information clerk and customer care professional

·         Gynecologist and obstetrician

·         Nurse and professional caregiver

·         Kindergarten and preschool teacher

·         Secretary

10 Jobs Women Will Never Be Able to Do Better than Men

·         PIlot

·         Comedian

·         Pro sports coach

·         Electrician

·         Chef

·         Plastic surgeon

·         Police officer

·         Firefighter

·         Mechanic

·         Construction worker

Clearly there are some roles such as mechanic, construction worker and firefighter that men seem more adept or at least more interested in doing while on the flip side more women are adept/interested in being teachers and caregivers.  The physical design of men and women allows our genders to be better suited for some roles over others.  Furthermore our upbringing often persuades men and women to pursue careers that might seem more masculine or feminine such as a male journalist covering business/finance while a female journalist might cover lifestyle/fashion. 

The real question isn’t whether men and women are paid equally for doing the same job but whether women, by way of occupational segregation, find themselves in jobs that typically pay less?  Even more troubling is a study out of Cornell University that found the pay for a particular occupation decreases as women take a more dominant role in it, suggesting that women’s efforts are not valued as highly as men’s.  Once women take over, the occupation’s pay is seemingly downgraded.

In the end, no organization with half a brain is overtly paying a woman significantly less for doing the same work as a man.  That is just asking for the type of scrutiny under which Google presently sweats.  Organizations are simply sorting men into blue job baskets and women into pink job baskets and declaring all the work done by the blue basket workers to be more valuable and as such deserving of more pay.  That is until women take it over.

About The Author

Ryder Cullison

Ryder has more than 10 years of experience working with retained search clients as a search professional. As a pioneer of Interview4 he has great knowledge of video interviewing. He writes about all things hiring and looks forward to engaging with his audience on topics of leadership, recruiting, candidate screening, and employee satisfaction. Follow him on Twitter: @hireintelligent and @cullison1

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