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Oct 10, 2014 2:20 PM

Unequal Pay: Must be a lot of good karma out there

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Don't ask for a raise. Keeping quiet will give you "superpowers" that will translate into employer trust and other "good karma" that will eventually come back around to your purse.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was widely derided Thursday for his foot-in-mouth statement at an event celebrating women in computing. During his stage interview, Microsoft director Maria Klawe asked Nadella to give advice to women who want to advance their careers but are uncomfortable asking for promotions and raises. His pearl of wisdom? Just trust that the system will reward you "as you go along." He didn't say if he has employed that philosophy during his decades-long career at Microsoft. He later apologized.

Men are eight times more likely than women to negotiate salary when taking a job, according to a study by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever for their 2007 book Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation and Positive Strategies for Change.

So how's that good karma working out?

On average, women in the U.S. working full time were paid 78 cents for every dollar that men earned in 2013, according to Census figures.


Louisiana has the nation's largest gender pay gap women make about two thirds of what men are paid. The District of Columbia has the narrowest with women averaging 91 percent of men's salaries.

This likely has to do with the types of jobs available. Washington boasts highly paid jobs going to a highly educated workforce. In Louisiana the more lucrative jobs are in the oil and gas industries, which employ mostly men.


Women in the computer technology industry earn an average of $6,358 a year less than men, factoring in education, age, region and occupation differences. That's according to a recent study by the nonprofit American Institute for Economic Research. You're a mom too? The "child penalty" will cost you $11,247 a year.

Female engineering majors earn an average of 88 percent of their male counterparts' salaries a year after graduation. Female majors in computer and information sciences earn 77 percent of men with the same degree, says a study by the American Association of University Women based on the Education Department's 2008-09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study. It included about 15,000 graduates.

Most of the technology companies that have revealed diversity figures this year say women comprise less than one-third of their workforce. At Microsoft Corp., women make up 29 percent of employees.

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg continues to publicly champion women in the workplace with her "Lean In" book and campaign. But women make up only 31 percent of Facebook Inc.'s total workers and only 15 percent of its tech employees, mainly in engineering.

Thirty percent of people who work at Google Inc. are women, but when it comes to leadership positions, the number drops to 21 percent.


The pay gap is even bigger in the financial services industry, where women earn $14,067 a year less than men, says the American Institute for Economic Research. Brides earn $16,491 less than single ladies and all men.

Just 6 percent of partners in U.S. venture capital firms are women, according to a recent study from Babson College. That's down from 10 percent in 1999.


Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. The 25 female CEOs are represented across most industries, including IBM Corp.'s Ginni Rometty, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and General Motors' Mary Barra. In 2009, Ursula Burns became the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she was named CEO of Xerox Corp. Safra Catz was recently named one of software giant Oracle Corp.'s two CEOs, along with Mark Hurd. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. named its first female CEO, Marillyn Hewson, last year.

About 17 percent of corporate board seats are held by women in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Catalyst.org, which tracks issues surrounding women in the workplace. Norway boasts the highest percentage at more than 40 percent; Saudi Arabia has the lowest at 0.1 percent.


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