Korn Ferry Pay Index cover

THE GENDER PAY GAP: Myth vs. Reality… And What Can Be Done About It

Hei-ock Kim


What makes the gender pay
issue a board-level concern?
In a word, profitability.
According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics’
recent study of 21,980 companies in 91 countries, the presence of
more female leaders in top positions of corporate management correlates
with increased profitability.
The gender pay gap has become a rallying cry among shareholder
groups, in the media and also as a much-talked-about issue during
the US presidential election season. According to one widely quoted
statistic from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR): “In
2015, female full-time workers made only 79 cents for every dollar
earned by men, a gender wage gap of 21 percent.” That quote has
been repeated, reprinted and retweeted countless times, but how
accurate is it?
While there is some consensus that a gender pay gap exists, what is it
really? Equally important, what are the causes, and what can organizations
to do to ensure that individuals are paid what they are worth,
regardless of gender?
Korn Ferry Hay Group set out to create a more accurate view of what
the gender pay gap actually is. We had one advantage at the outset,
one lacking in other analyses: We were able to control for job level—
the biggest driver of pay. Our pay database holds compensation data
for more than 20 million employees in more than 110 countries andacross 25,000 organizations, making it the largest and the most comprehensive
such database in the world. In addition, for every country for
which we have the granular data (in this case for 33 countries), we were
able to compare pay for men and women at the same job level; at the
same job level and in the same company; and at the same job level, in the
same company and in the same function.
By isolating the main factors that influence pay—job level, company and
function—we found that the actual gender pay gap looks far different
from the image broadcast in the media. In fact, the deeper we drilled into
the data, the smaller the pay gap became. And when we compared like
with like, it became so small as to virtually disappear.

2018 DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program

Hei-ock Kim

The DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program prepares professionals to create and implement highly successful D&I strategies for organizational excellence and a competitive edge in today’s global marketplace. The program blends theory and practice during a 5-day intensive curriculum and on-going professional development through the DiversityFIRST™ Graduate Network. FOR: Organizations

Glassdoor Cover

The Pipeline Problem: How College Majors Contribute to the Gender Wage Gap

Hei-ock Kim

By Andrew Chamberlain, Ph.D.
Chief Economist, Glassdoor
Jyotsna Jayaraman
Senior Data Analyst, Glassdoor

During college, men and women gravitate toward different majors, often due to
societal pressures. This puts men and women on different career tracks — with
different pay — after college. How does this contribute to America’s gender pay gap?
• Using a unique dataset of more than 46,900 resumes shared on Glassdoor, we
illustrate how men and women sorting into different college majors translates into
gender gaps in careers and pay later.
• Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are
male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences
and liberal arts tend to be female-dominated, placing men in higher-paying
career pathways, on average.
• The most male-dominated majors are Mechanical Engineering
(89 percent male), Civil Engineering (83 percent male), Physics
(81 percent male), Computer Science and Engineering (74 percent male),
and Electrical Engineering (74 percent male).
• The most female-dominated majors are Social Work (85 percent female),
Healthcare Administration (84 percent female), Anthropology
(80 percent female), Nursing (80 percent female), and Human Resources
(80 percent female).
• Nine of the 10 highest paying majors we examined are male-dominated. By
contrast, 6 of the 10 lowest-paying majors are female-dominated.
• Even within the same major men and women often end up on differe nt career
tracks, resulting in a pay gap that could follow them for a lifetime. In our sample,
across the 50 most common majors, men and women face an 11.5 percent pay gap
on average in the first five years of their careers.
• Majors leading to the largest pay gaps favoring men include Healthcare
Administration (22 percent pay gap), Mathematics (18 percent pay gap)
and Biology (13 percent pay gap).
• Majors leading to the largest pay gaps favoring women — a reverse pay
gap — include Architecture (-14 percent pay gap), Music (-10.1 percent
pay gap) and Social Work (-8.4 percent pay gap).
• Choice of college major can have a dramatic impact on jobs and pay later on. Our
results suggest that gender imbalances among college majors are an important and
often overlooked driver of the gender pay gap.

12 things employers can do to improve gender equality at their workplace

Hei-ock Kim

Quartz June 22, 2016 By Oliver Staley Not all workplaces provide equal opportunities for men and women, but all should try. In a presentation yesterday at the Society of Human Resource Managers’ (SHRM) annual conference, Jonathan Segal, a labor attorney, laid out 12 practical steps employers can take to level the workplace for men and women. These tips are taken …

Think there aren’t qualified women in tech? Here are 1,000 names. No more excuses.

Hei-ock Kim

Mic May 2, 2017 By Melanie Ehrenkranz Next time you find yourself watching a panel of experts discussing the latest in technology, finance, engineering, math or science, ask yourself: Am I looking at a sea of men? Most likely, the answer is yes. Spotting a woman on a tech panel often feels like a game of Where’s Waldo?. Majority-male panels …

Is This How Discrimination Ends?

Hei-ock Kim

The Atlantic May 7,2017 By Jessica Nordell On a cloudy day in February, Will Cox pointed to a pair of news photos that prompted a room of University of Wisconsin, Madison, graduate students to shift in their seats. In one image, a young African American man clutches a carton of soda under his arm. Dark water swirls around his torso; …

Untapped Reserves: Promoting Gender Balance in Oil and Gas

Hei-ock Kim

Representing roughly a fifth of employees in the oil and gas
industry, women account for a significantly smaller share of the
workforce than they do in almost any other sector. These women also
work disproportionately in office jobs; they have a very limited
presence both in technical roles, which are often considered prerequisites
for career advancement, and in upper management. The upshot:
oil and gas companies are failing to fully leverage a potentially sizable
and critical pool of talent.
The loss to the industry is threefold. First, oil and gas companies have
a smaller number of highly qualified candidates to choose from when
filling positions, especially in the middle and higher ranks, because
many talented women either never join the industry or drop out prematurely.
Second, these companies miss out on the higher quality of
teamwork, diversity of perspectives, and creativity in the solving of
technical and business problems that characterize those with larger
percentages of female employees. Third, the industry’s relative lack of
gender diversity, particularly in the senior ranks, hurts its reputation
among women as a career choice. This can create a vicious circle, with
the industry finding it progressively more difficult to recruit women
across the board.
The combined effects could ultimately weigh heavily on oil and gas
companies’ ability to increase capital productivity, which will be vital
as they wrestle with the challenges posed by the potential large-scale
retirement of many experienced employees, an ongoing uncertain oil
price environment, and advances in robotics and artificial intelligence
that could reshape the industry in a host of ways.
But attracting and retaining greater numbers of women, particularly
those with optimal backgrounds and skill sets, will pose challenges for
the industry. These include the limited number of girls and women
pursuing technical educations, structural barriers within the oil and
gas industry that make it difficult for women to advance and to balThe
Boston Consulting Group • World Petroleum Council | 5
ance work and family, and an established male-centric culture that remains
prevalent throughout much of the industry. We strongly believe,
however, that the industry can and must surmount these
challenges and close the gender gap if it hopes to position itself optimally
for tomorrow.
The following are the key findings of our report:
The percentage of women in the industry’s workforce drops over time
and falls particularly sharply—from 25% to 17%—between the
middle-management and senior-leadership career stages. This trend
won’t change unless CEOs make gender diversity a higher strategic
priority. Although 56% of men b elieve that their CEO considers
gender diversity important or very important, only 36% of women do.
CEO commitment matters because many employees, especially men,
take their lead from the CEO. Of men who think their CEO considers
gender diversity very important, only 7% consider it unimportant or
very unimportant themselves, while 86% consider it important or very
important. Conversely, of men who think their CEO considers gender
diversity very unimportant, 58% likewise consider it unimportant or
very unimportant, while only 34% consider it important or very
Although men and women start out on an equal footing, women
rarely reach the top of the organization. This isn’t owing to a lack of
ambition: our research shows that women are just as ambitious as
men. So what’s the reason? Men, especially those in senior positions,
attribute the phenomenon largely to a shortage of qualified female
candidates. This assessment is probably accurate: among women who
have spent many years in the industry and might otherwise be
considered suitable candidates for promotion to senior management,
many have failed to accumulate the critical experiences that their
male colleagues have. Thus, even among women who are still at the
company after 15 to 20 years, the odds of landing a senior executive
job are small: women hold less than 20% of these p ositions.
There are wide gaps in perception between men and women regarding
the gender-related challenges that women face. For example, men
believe that women are generally less flexible than men and therefore
less suited to certain roles, including many expatriate positions and
jobs in the field. But our research shows that women are in fact just as
flexible as men, and sometimes even more so. The differences in
opinion between men and women about the challenges women face
are particularly evident with regard to women’s underrepresentation
in the senior ranks. Fifty-seven percent of women said that female
employees receive less support for advancement into senior positions
than male employees; only 24% of men agreed. Fifty-six percent of
women said that women are overlooked for senior positions; only 23%
of men agreed.
Unless companies develop a critical mass of women across all roles,
meaningful progress toward gender balance in the industry will not
occur. Many oil and gas companies are making a genuine effort to
improve gender diversity through recruiting practices, work-life6
| Untapped Reserves
balance policies, and other means. But these measures have not
produced the desired results, in large part because they are too
hands-off, failing to focus on meaningful quantitative targets. While
an average 22% of jobs in the industry are filled by women, a look at
specific job categories tells a different story. College-educated women
hold fully 50% of entry-level office and business-support positions, but
they hold only 15% of entry-level technical and field positions.
There are many actions the industry can take to increase the number
of female employees and accelerate its progress toward gender
balance. The industry must look holistically at the various functions—
especially technical ones, where women’s representation is
particularly low—and establish targets that will boost women’s
presence to the point of critical mass. The industry should also take
specific actions centered on three critical career stages:
•• At the entry level, the industry can expand the talent pool it
draws from by taking steps to increase women’s participation in
STEM programs. It can enhance its attractiveness to women as a
career choice by promoting the wide range of jobs available and
making career paths more flexible, working with governments to
remove structural barriers that make it difficult for women to work
in the industry, and increasing the number and visibility of senior
female role models.
•• At the midcareer level, the industry can work to ensure that
women have the same career opportunities as men, that each
woman has a sponsor who can offer career guidance, and that
work-life-balance policies are available and applied equally to
male and female employees.
•• At the senior-leadership level, the industry can provide stretch
goals for women and the necessary support to help them succeed,
broaden the range of career paths from which senior leaders are
picked, and ensure that standards for promotion are applied
equally to men and women.
Greater gender balance is a worthwhile and attainable goal for the
industry, and one that it has the means t o achieve. Provided that
leadership commitment, especially from CEOs, remains sufficiently
strong, the industry could boost women’s representation steadily and
materially over time—and reap a host of benefits, including improved
organizational performance, creativity, decision making, and morale.

Google employee’s memo triggers another crisis for a tech industry struggling to diversify

Hei-ock Kim

LA Times August 7, 2017 By Tracey Lien and David Pierson When Google realized in 2013 it had a diversity problem, it followed the corporate playbook by introducing workshops to train employees about hidden biases. But four years later — and after sending three-quarters of its 70,000 employees through sensitivity training — the Mountain View tech giant is now reeling …