The Salary Gap in the US E-Learning Industry

Avivah Wittenberg-Cox calls it “gender asbestos:”

“…a massive corporate mis-adaptation to today’s talent realities and the subsequent inability to retain and develop women as well as men.”

She would say any gender pay gap is not about salary inequities at all.

I agree. It’s not just about salary inequities.

I have a history of self-development. I don’t wait around. I purposefully took jobs throughout my career that were either just above what I thought I could handle or where I was the token “skirt.” It has worked out for me.

However, so long as my ATM card gives me what I ask of it, I don’t think of the gender pay gap except on Equal Pay Day or when I read a good article or something.

I wonder what your reaction is to the phrase “gender pay gap?” Rolling of the eyes?

Perhaps your reaction is to stop reading this right now.

(Good. Thank goodness they’re gone.)

You might think it’s non-existent or a non-issue. What a bunch of whiners right?

You may think gender pay gaps only matter to the person who makes up the lower bar on a gender salary graph. Too bad so sad and all that. But it’s really a societal issue.

You may react, as Cammy Bean did, with “…that really ticks me off.”

Cammy’s reaction came after summarizing Temple Smolen’s eLearning Guild’s 2010 Salary and Compensation Report (US).

There continues to be a consistent gender gap in pay between men and women. On average, men are paid 14.5% more than women. This gap is most notable in part-time employee pay, where women receive an average hourly rate that is 49.4% lower than the rate men receive, while working a comparable number of hours. (p. 25)

Why I thought?

I remembered Clay Shirky, writing earlier this year about a once-removed issue

“…not enough women have what it take to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.” [ …that many men, because they have this “skill,” tend to get disproportionately rewarded.]

After my first read (when this was posted back in January), the Shirky rant suggested to me that I should learn to lie a bit better. However, as is often the case, the thoughts of others got me thinking about this issue a bit more beyond my initial reaction…like this comment from Danny O’Brien which I picked up via Sarah Milstein.

Sarah Milstein also linked to a great comment by Gisela that I think gets at some of the other below-the-surface reasons for gender pay gaps (and I do not have her research source)…

So what is behind the gender pay gap?

  • Is there a massive corporate mis-adaptation to today’s talent realities and the subsequent inability to retain and develop women as well as men?
  • Do too few women have what it takes (call it what you will) to self-promote; to show assertiveness?
  • Is there a societal behavior bias?
  • Are women just devalued in the workplace?

All of the above? Perhaps. It’s certainly alive and well in the e-learning industry (at least in the U.S.).

Why does this matter? The U.S. can’t afford it. Those in charge of salary should step up and address it. For women…one idea: back up your negotiations with data from the report.

This post is part of a blog carnival on the subject of the gender salary gap. Read more from Kelly Garber: Shark Attacks and Salary Reports, Julie Dirksen: Ranting on the Gender Pay Gap in E-Learning, and Cammy Bean: eLearning Guild’s 2010 Salary Report.

Link to original postLink to original post

Leave a Reply