Glassdoor, a job site that also provides insight on company working cultures, released a report in March this year about how men generally earn more than women in Singapore. It used a sample of 5,096 salaries of Singaporean employees with an average age of 33 and found that:
The report also found that when we compare workers of different genders with the same age, job title, employer and location among other factors, the adjusted gap is still 5.2 percent.
The unadjusted gender pay gap widened last year
According to data released by the Ministry of Manpower, the gender pay gap here widened in 2018.
In 2017, the median wage for Singaporean women working full-time was 90.8 percent of the median wage for men. But in 2018, this figure decreased to 87.5 percent—the lowest in the past decade.
Why is this happening?
According to the Glassdoor report, 60 percent of the reasons can be accounted for, while the other 40 percent remains “unexplained”.
Of the former, 45 percent is due to “differences in education and experience”.
“Men and women tend to take on different paths early on in life, and the differences in their college majors play a large role in the differences in their career paths,” says Dr Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor.
And 16 percent is due to “occupational sorting”.
“Men and women tend to get sorted into different positions for a variety of reasons, many of which are deeply rooted in traditional gender norms,” he says. “Men tend to sort themselves into higher-paying roles such as computer programmer, while women tend to sort themselves into traditionally lower-paying roles such as nurse or teacher.”
“Also, women tend to bear heavier household responsibilities, so they often require a job with more flexibility but lower pay.”
But not all of the reasons can be explained
According to the Glassdoor report, the unexplained pay gap could be attributed to factors such as workplace bias. This includes being made to do “office housework” (i.e., nonpromotable work). They may also not be as skilled when it comes to pay negotiation, or may have been out of the workforce for a while (to, say, care for children).
“MEN AND WOMEN TEND TO GET SORTED INTO DIFFERENT POSITIONS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, MANY OF WHICH ARE DEEPLY ROOTED IN TRADITIONAL GENDER NORMS.”
THE WIDEST GENDER PAY GAPS
ValueChampion, a consumer research firm, also released a report earlier this year about the gender pay gap in Singapore. It found that the average differences in salary between men and women tend to be particularly high in industries such as:
The firm also found that while women make up 77 percent of the health and social services industry, they represent just 51 percent of the employees that earn more than $7,000 a month. In fact, they also represent 85 percent of the employees earning less than $2,000 a month.
THE NARROWESTGENDER PAY GAPS
The same report released the statistics on industries with a smaller gender pay gap. They include:
INDUSTRIES WHERE WOMEN EARN MORE
And the two industries where women have a higher median wage than men?
However, It should be noted that women make up just 24 percent of the transportation and storage industry, and 26 percent of the construction industry. As such, the impact of the wage advantage in these industries may be somewhat limited.
"Compiled by ST Photos: Song Tao, Sunday Times Graphics"
PLUS, WOMEN PAY MORE THAN MEN FOR THE SAME TYPE OF STUFF
Heard of the “pink tax”? It’s when there’s an extra charge on goods and services for women, even though they’re almost identical to those for men. And it exists in Singapore.
An article in The Straits Times last year highlighted this—and it’s way more rampant than you might think. For example, a razor for men costs about $1 each ($6.40 for a pack of six), half the price of a razor for women, which costs about $2 each ($6.40 for a pack of three).
A razor kit for women costs $13.15 on Redmart, while a similar razor kit from the same brand for men costs $10.90. And a shave gel for sensitive skin, which includes aloe vera in variations for both genders, costs $10.80 for men at local drugstores but is $11.90 under a different range for women.
The article also noted that women pay 50 cents more to get their blouses laundered at the dry-cleaners, while one laundry service charges a dollar more to dry-clean blouses compared with men’s shirts.
However, in an interview for the article, Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon from the National University of Singapore’s Business School explained that prices can vary for near-identical items because of the differences in demand and supply.
“The revenue generated from women’s razors will be less than that from men’s razors, so the manufacturer has to make up for this lower turnover through differentiated pricing,” Professor Ang said to the newspaper.
In other words, since we don’t shave every day like men do, we spend less on razors. As such, businesses make up for the “loss” by marking up the prices of goods marketed to us.
But is it right for us to be paying more for products labelled “for women”, especially when we generally earn less across the board? And if not, what can we do to eradicate this gender-based price discrimination?
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Stop doing “ofﬁce housework”. It won’t get you a promotion.
IMAGES 123RF.COM TEXT BY ADORA WONG.