The struggle for women to achieve equal pay for equal work is constant and longstanding. Today on Equal Pay Day 2019, which marks how far into the new year women have to work to earn the same amount of money men earned the previous year, video conferencing company Owl Labs has launched a new report that explores those challenges in more detail.
The study, Equal Pay for Equal Work (From Home): Remote Work’s Role in the Gender Pay Gap, surveyed 2,018 full-time U.S. employees on the impact of remote work specifically on pay inequality to determine if the remote workplace movement has made an impact on this issue.
While the pay gap may slowly continue to close and remote work continues to provide new career opportunities for all genders, there is still much work to be done on both fronts.
Key findings from the study include:
Male Remote Workers Earn Higher Salaries than Female Remote Workers
The report found that remote work increases earnings for men and women, but the gender pay gap still persists. For example, although men and women who work remotely are more likely to earn higher salaries than those who work exclusively on-site, the data found men who work remotely full-time are benefitting more. The data shows that the biggest pay gap between men and women was between full-time remote workers – men who work remotely full-time are 25 percent more likely to earn over $100,000 than women who work remotely full-time.
Remote Work Improves Earning Potential for Male Individual Contributors, But Not Female
The report also found that an employee’s role affects salary differences. Of those who self-qualified as individual contributors, men who work remotely full-time are the highest earners. This group is 124 percent more likely to make $100,000 or more than male individual contributors who are never remote and 58 percent more likely than male individual contributors who are sometimes remote.
In contrast, women who work remotely full-time as individual contributors do not experience the same lift. Rather, women who sometimes work remotely as individual contributors are the most likely to earn more than $100,000, suggesting that face time is needed for women to seek higher earnings. The same is true for managers. The data states female managers who work remotely full-time are 16 percent less likely to earn $100,000 or more than female managers who never work remotely.
Women Who Work Remotely Are Less Optimistic About Their Career Growth
While women are slightly more optimistic than men about receiving at least one promotion in the next five years, their optimism is dependent on face time in the office. For example, women who never or sometimes work remotely are 26 percent and 59 percent more optimistic about their promotion opportunities than women who work remotely full-time. Conversely, men who work remotely full-time are 45 percent more likely to expect two or more promotions in the next five years than women who work remotely full-time – further exemplifying that face time is necessary for women to earn equal pay and climb the ladder in their careers.
Men and Women Work Remotely For Different Reasons
The motivation to work remotely may be the driving force behind gender disparities. Forty percent of women cited their primary reason for working remotely is to achieve greater work-life balance, while men were split between achieving work-life balance (30 percent) and increasing productivity and focus (28 percent). Systemic workplace biases could be to blame. For example, negative biases surrounding working mothers deprioritizing their work in favor of their family could be amplified by a mother’s decision to work from home and consequently impact her salary – instead of the impact that should be made by her experience and contributions to the growth of the company.