Despite more than forty years of equal pay legislation, a significant proportion of women in the U.S. still believe that they are being short-changed in both pay and career advancement opportunities.
According to research by CareerBuilder.com, a Chicago-based online job site, more than a third (35 per cent) of women believe that they are paid less than men in their organisations with similar experience and qualifications.
The figure marks a four per cent increase on the figure reported in the same survey in 2003.
The CareerBuilder.com report, "Men and Women at Work 2006" quizzed more than 1,400 women and over 575 men working full-time.
It found that younger women reported the least pay disparity, with one in three (30 per cent) of those aged 21 to 35 claiming that they were paid less than equally qualified males compared to 35 per cent of women in the 36 to 50 age bracket and 43 per cent of female workers in the 51 to 65 age bracket..
"The perceived inequality women are experiencing in the workplace extends to career progress," said CareerBuilder.com's Rosemary Haefner.
"Thirty-two percent of women report their employers offer less career advancement options to women than men. The good news is we are seeing more and more companies remedying recruitment, compensation and promotion practices to provide the same opportunities to all workers, regardless of gender and cultural background."
When asked to identify the cause for the apparent disparity in pay and mobility, more than a quarter of women attribute it to being less apt to schmooze with management. One in five put it down to management showing favouritism to the opposite sex while one in 10 pointed to seniority.
Separate research published this week from career publisher Vault.com found that three-quarters of women believe it is still difficult for women to get ahead in the workplace while almost six out of 10 feel that at one time or another they have been disadvantaged in the workplace because of their gender.
Yet on the flip side, both surveys found that men feel there is a gender bias in pay levels and career advancement – albeit on a much smaller scale.
According to CareerBuilder, eight per cent of men say they are paid less than their female counterparts who have similar experience and qualifications and one in seven (15 per cent) say their employers afford women more career advancement opportunities in their organisations.
Meanwhile Vault found that a quarter of men feel that their gender has put them at a disadvantage at work at some point during their career.