Starting from the age of 32, women experience a wage gap and fewer managerial opportunities, according to a new report. Fortunately, there are ways to eliminate this.
I’m three years away from turning 32, but I’m dreading it. That age could signal the steady decline of my career.
According to a new study by workforce analytics company Visier, 32 marks not only when the number of women managers drops, but when the gender wage gap widens. Women start making 90 percent of men’s wages at 32, and by 40, we’re making 82 cents to a man’s earned dollar.
In essence, this study highlights that within 10 years of my college graduation, there’s a good chance I’ll be off-ramped from the very leadership positions I’ve been working toward over the last decade. Most alarming, the pay gaps overlap with the time most women typically start having children; at a time when just the cost of day care alone can easily outpace in-state college tuition. It’s a reason why so many women voluntarily opt out of work — the study found that between 25 and 40, there’s a notable dip in percentage of women in the workforce.
As women continue to be underrepresented in managerial positions from the age of 32, the salary differentials are also stark; managers make at least two times as much as non-managers.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are actionable solutions to stop this decline. Part of it comes down to making proactive efforts to hire women as managers, according to the report. Recommendations include:
• For every managerial position to fill, ensure at least one woman and minority features in your slate of candidates.
• Consider “blind screening” and removing any gender identifiers from résumés.
• Make sure HR policies are enacted with the awareness of gender equity.
More importantly, the gender wage gap continues to be a pressing issue not only nationwide, but especially in Washington state, where we have a large number of single working moms. Here, the report suggests that employers must:
• Support paid parental leave for both genders; simply offering maternity leave doesn’t solve the issue.
• Support programs for quality and affordable child care.
• Make flexible work options culturally acceptable for employees of both genders to utilize.
Additionally, it’s the responsibility of everyone — employers, leaders and community organizers — to develop and support long-term initiatives that focus on eliminating gender expectations of women as caregivers and men as leaders at work.
If we maintain the status quo, 32 will continue to portend the end of women’s careers. But if we all play our parts in working on proactively combating these biases, we can harness the power of all employees in the workforce — not just the men.