Is This the Real Reason for the Wage Gap?

Anna Williams

gender gapThe fact that a wage gap exists between genders is not up for debate. You already know the all-too-familiar statistic that women earn 77 cents for every dollar that men earn.

But exactly why the gap persists is still being discussed. A study published in the American Sociological Review offers a new explanation.

Researchers claim that it may be a matter of overtime: Men are more likely than women to put in 50 hours or more of work a week.

As Quartz reports, almost 20% of men worked 50 hours or more per week in 2000—compared with only 7% of women. The study offers a number of explanations for this, including that women are less likely to choose positions that demand long hours and that they are still responsible for the majority of housework and childcare, and therefore can’t work as much overtime.

Unfortunately, those extra hours seem significant: The researchers suggest that the disparity widens the pay gap by 10%. Not only do longer hours often yield more pay, but more of those who work them tend to end up in managerial and professional positions. The reason? Employers are likely to view overtime employees as hard-working, and thus more worthy of climbing the corporate ladder.

Of course, burning the midnight oil at the office shouldn’t be your go-to strategy for upping your pay. Make sure you know the top tricks to boosting your salary in 2014 and how to successfully negotiate.

RELATED: 5 Surprising Things You Should Negotiate

  • Robert Hoover

    Anna Williams: Wow –what a discovery , those who work more hours at a job “tend” to make more money. Go to Harvard for your MBA –effen dumb broad.

  • ladyworker

    I will choose to ignore the insensitive first comment. This is an important factor to consider in this situation. Overtime hours are not always directly compensated, but can help someone get ahead by having a reputation for doing more (albeit for less pay…), following up on things, etc. It’s a pressure I face at work, but I know that (a) I have other important things in my life that I want or need to attend to, and (b) I’m not in college anymore – I just can’t work myself that hard on a regular basis, or my health, mood, and relationships will suffer. The fact that women (and people…) often can’t or don’t want to choose to sacrifice their personal lives for the rat race should be a bigger part of the work discussion.

    • CrankyFranky

      the article makes sense – similar to the glass ceiling – why women don’t get the top jobs – willingness to work long hours separates over-achievers from the average

      as for what’s important – look at Wendi Deng – not paid much ? – no worries – just marry a rich guy – then divorce – get $1.3B – that’s a plan !

      Or to quote Zsa-zsa Gabor – ‘I’m a great housekeeper – whenever I get divorced, I keep the house !’

  • Sam

    Hi, I put in my overtime hours. I believe the researchers should find a new reason of why woman are supposedly not working as much over time, than they are in charge of cleaning and child rearing. Very 1950′s. Please get with the new millennium.