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Women don’t believe they’ll ever earn the same as men.

If you ask women if any progress has been made on equal pay and work opportunities in the past five years, they’d say no, according to two recent studies.

Thirty-two percent of women say they don’t earn the same as men, says a study from CareerBuilder. But only 12 percent of men agree.

To set the record straight, 78 percent of women feel the U.S. should require businesses to provide a detailed breakdown of what men and women earn, according to female-focused media company SheKnows Media.

Women don’t expect to rise

Men are more likely than women to believe they’ll receive a promotion within the company they work for.

Twenty-nine percent of men expect to move into a management position throughout their career. Only 22 percent of women think they have the same ability, says CareerBuilder’s study. Meanwhile, 25 percent of women expect to never move past an entry-level position within their companies. And only 9 percent of men think that statement affects them.

Roughly a third (31 percent) of women think they’ve hit a “glass ceiling” — or barrier preventing them from a promotion — at their company. So what jobs do women think they can attain? Here is a breakdown of what job titles men and women think they can reach during their careers…

  • Company owner: 7 percent men vs. 6 percent women
  • C suite (executive positions i.e. CEO, CFO, CTO): 6 percent men vs. 4 percent women
  • Vice president: 4 percent men vs. 2 percent women
  • Director: 12 percent men vs. 10 percent women
  • Manager: 30 percent men vs. 27 percent women
  • Technical role: 33 percent men vs. 26 percent women

Women’s low expectations at work don’t end with their positions — they also expect lower salaries. Thirty-five percent of women don’t believe they’ll reach a salary of $50,000 a year during their careers, while only 17 percent of men feel they can’t earn that annual salary, too.

Conversely, nearly half (47 percent) of men expect to earn a six-figure salary, while only 22 percent of women do. And their outlook on work opportunities is contributing to a lack of satisfaction with work. Only 34 percent of women are pleased with their work advancement opportunities compared to 44 percent of men. Not to mention, 30 percent of women feel they don’t have the same career opportunities — even with the same qualifications — while 12 percent of men agree.

Women have yet to see change

Aside from the way women feel about their position at work, there are plenty of reasons that led to their pessimistic view of the workforce.

SheKnows Media polled 1,447 working women, and the results are depressing. First, 40 percent of women say they’ve received a pay raise of 5 percent or less in the past five years. Which hasn’t kept up with inflation and living costs.

Then, more than half (55 percent) of women work for companies where less than 10 percent of women are executives. Further, 60 percent feel that motherhood will negatively impact their career advancement. Finally, another 40 percent won’t even ask for a raise.

And the worst group affected by the glass ceiling is women of color, according to the survey. Thirty-seven percent say they don’t think women of color have equal opportunities for advancement in their company.

“Women remain underrepresented at executive leadership levels at organizations of all sizes and across all industries – even, ironically, in the women’s media space,” says SheKnows Media president Samantha Skey. “While this exercise reveals that we are representing our mission to advance women’s leadership positions, we have work to do in addressing additional barriers faced by women of color.”

A glimmer of hope?

Not all is doomed, but improvements are slow. Both studies say the workforce is getting better for women. But, they also show most bosses don’t believe that men and women earn unequal wages at their companies.

The vast majority of employers (94 percent) think there should be equal pay in the U.S. But only 15 percent believe there currently is a pay gap. Despite the fact that women disagree.

On the bright side, women may get the transparency they want. Eighty-two percent of bosses agree they should be transparent about wages.

Forty-two percent of employers also say there is proposed legislation to ban companies from asking about salary history, to develop better pay equality in the workforce. However, that legislation is still unclear, according to Bloomberg BNA. Companies can’t be sued for damages until January 2019. And the requirement for companies to pay out punitive damages as punishment won’t take effect until 2024.

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


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