Facts about Workplace Bias

FACT: Women generally apply to jobs only when they believe they meet all the requirements in a posting, whereas mean will throw their hat in the ring if they think they meet just 60% of the qualifications (internal study by Hewlett-Packard Co.; Wall St. Journal, 10/14/13).

FACT: “About 70 percent of married moms who attended top-tier universities such as Princeton and Harvard were employed in 2010. That compares to about 80 percent of married moms who attended the nation’s least competitive universities. The married moms from the nation’s best universities also tended to take more time out of the workforce than those who attended the least competitive universities, and to work fewer hours if they did work at all. About 45 percent of the married moms from the best universities were working full-time, compared with about 57 percent of the married moms from the least selective universities. Other research has shown that graduates from top schools are more likely to come from wealthy families and to marry men who also attend prestigious universities and come from similarly wealthy families. That could give them more financial flexibility to opt out of the workforce.” (Analysis of married women between ages 21 and 54 who also had children under age 18; based on the National Survey of College Graduates, which provides government data on about 77,000 college graduates; NBC News, 4/12/13.)

FACT: “Women account for a third of the nation's lawyers and doctors, a major shift from a generation ago when those professions were occupied almost exclusively by men, new Census figures show” (Wall St. Journal, 12/4/12).

FACT: Although women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, only 16.6 percent have seats on the boards of Fortune 500 companies, and only 14.3 percent (710 women) hold executive officer positions. Between 2009 and 2011, 81 percent of all the board seats filled were filled by men. For women of color, the situation is even worse, with 3.3 percent holding board seats in 2012 (Catalyst 2012 F500 Census, Reuters, 12/12/12).

FACT: 70% of class valedictorians today are women (sociologist Michael Kimmel / CBS News Sunday Morning 6/17/12).

FACT: Percentage of men and women who say “success in a high-paying career is important” (Pew Research Center / CBS News Sunday Morning 6/17/12):

  • 66% of women
  • 59% of men

FACT: Number of stay-at-home dads (U.S Census survey / CBS News Sunday Morning 6/17/12):

  • 1994 = 76,000
  • 2011 = 176,000

FACT: Since the economic downturn of 2007, slightly more than half of all job seekers over age 55 have been unemployed for more than six months. In 2003, just 23% of unemployed seniors were forced to look for jobs that long (report from the federal Government Accountability Office; Reuters, 5/15/12).

FACT: “Just 28% of Asians feel very comfortable ‘being themselves’ at work, compared with 40% of African Americans, 41% of Hispanics and 42% of whites” (survey by Center for Work-Life Policy; Seattle Times, 8/17/11).

FACT: “Asians make up more than a third of the workforce at some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies but represent just 6% of board members and about 10% of corporate officers of the San Francisco Bay Area’s 25 largest companies” (survey by Center for Work-Life Policy; Seattle Times, 8/17/11).

FACT: Women comprise about 34% of upper-middle management. But above that level, they become more rare (Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy; Advertising Age, 6/22/11).

FACT: The median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers 25 years or older (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Workforce Talent ezine, 6/23/11):

  • Less than a high-school diploma = $487 men / $388 women
  • High-school graduate, no college = $714 men / $555 women
  • Some college or an associate degree = $825 men / $650 women
  • College graduate = $1,225 men / $934 women
  • Advanced degree = $1,550 men / $1,162 women

FACT: Ambition – and especially female ambition – declines sharply at middle age. While 92% of women and 98% of men aged 23 to 34 express a desire to advance professionally, once they reach age 45 to 54, only 64% of women and 78% of the men say the same (McKinsey & Co. 2011 survey of 2,525 college-educated men and women, including 1,525 individuals employed by large companies, mainly in management; Wall St. Journal, 4/4/11).

FACT: Women comprise just 15% of executive committees at Fortune 200 companies (McKinsey & Co. 2011 survey; Wall St. Journal, 4/4/11).

FACT: Only 11 chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women, down from a peak of 15 in 2010. There were two Fortune 500 female CEOs in 2000, up from one in 1995 (2000 Catalyst Inc. report; Wall St. Journal, 4/4/11).

FACT: Some 37% of lower-level and middle managers are female, while just 26% of vice presidents and other senior managers are women at Fortune 500 companies (2000 Catalyst Inc. report; Wall St. Journal, 4/4/11).

FACT: Across education levels, women made on average 75% as much as their male counterparts in 2009 (Wall St. Journal, 3/1/11).

FACT: "The full-time workforce remains predominantly male, with 56 million men and 42 million women" (The Washington Post, 10/7/10).

FACT: Nationwide, one in seven men earn annual salaries of $100,000 or more; about one in 18 women earn the same (a study of new U.S. census figures; The Washington Post, 10/7/10).

FACT: "The number of women in management positions grew by only 1% between 2000 and 2007. Women held 40% of management jobs in 2007, compared to 39% in 2000" (Government Accountability Office report; CNN Money, 9/28/10).

FACT: "In 2000, women in management positions made, on average, 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. By 2007, that figure had ticked up to 81 cents" (Government Accountability Office report; CNN Money, 9/28/10).

FACT: The average unemployment rate for disabled workers was 16.4% in 2010 (well above the 9.5% rate for those without disabilities). In 2009, the rate was 14.5%. For disabled workers with a bachelor's degree, the unemployment rate is 8.3% (compared to 4.5% for non-disabled persons with a bachelor degree (Labor Department statistics; Wall St. Journal, 8/26/10).

FACT: Nearly one-third of workers with disabilities work only part-time — compared to one-fifth of the non-disabled population (Labor Department statistics; Wall St. Journal, 8/26/10).

FACT: While overall sexual harassment claims are down, and the majority of them are filed by women, the percentage of sexual harassment claims filed by men doubled from 8% to 16% of all claims between 1990 and 2009 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report; Associated Press, 3/4/10).

FACT: Today, women earn more college degrees than men in all fields except the physical sciences, math, engineering, business and economics. Because of this, women's wages have risen faster and fewer of them were laid off during the economic recession of 2007 – 2009 (Wall St. Journal, 2/12/10).

FACT: The unemployment gap between men and women during the economic recession of 2007 – 2009 was so great that some economists took to calling it the "man-cession." A recession has never before had such a disproportionate effect on one gender (Wall St. Journal, 2/12/10).

FACT: 85% to 90% of men and women believe qualified applicants of either gender have the same shot at landing a junior-level position. However, only 52% of women (and 81% of men) said the same about a promotion to a middle-management position. For an executive-level position, only 30% of women (and 66% of men) believe there is an equal chance (Bain & Co. survey of 1,834 business professionals, Wall St. Journal, 1/28/10).

FACT: In Fortune 500 companies, women hold, on average, only 13.5% of executive-officer positions, and 3% of chief executive officer positions (Catalyst Inc study; Wall St. Journal, 1/28/10).

FACT: "Men are still the major contributors to household income, with 78% making at least as much or more than their wives. But the percentage of women whose income has outpaced their husband's has more than quadrupled, jumping from just 4% in 1970 to 22% now" (Pew Research Center study of U.S.-born spouses, ages 30 to 44; The Washington Post, 1/19/10).

FACT: In 2007, full-time, year-round women workers earned an average of $33,000 a year; men earned an average of $46,000 (The Washington Post, 1/19/10).

FACT: According to the latest data from Quantcast, only 5% of LinkedIn users are black and only 2% are Hispanic (Workforce Management e-zine, 9/24/09).

FACT: "Females in dual-earner couples now provide an average 44% of household income, up from 39% in 1997. And husbands are taking on more workload at home; 31% of women say their spouses do half or most of the child care, up from 21% in 1992" (study of about 3,500 wage, salaried and self-employed workers and small-business owners by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute; Wall St. Journal, 3/26/09).

FACT: 67% of men and 80% of women agree that employed women can be good mothers — in 1977, 49% of men and 71% of women believed the same (study of about 3,500 wage, salaried and self-employed workers and small-business owners by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute; Wall St. Journal, 3/26/09).

FACT: Older workers are far more likely to endure long-term unemployment (more than six months) than younger workers (AARP study; Wall St. Journal, 3/11/09).

FACT: "A resume with a high-school graduation date showing the worker to be 35 is 40% more likely to result in an interview than an identical resume with a high-school graduation date showing the worker to be 62" (2005 experiment by Joanna Lahey, an economist with A&M University; Wall St. Journal, 3/11/09).

FACT: In 2008, age-discrimination allegations by employees jumped 29%, from 2007 (federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics; Wall St. Journal, 3/11/09).

FACT: 40% of the workforce is made up of people 55 and older. In 2004, 36% of the workforce was 55 and older (federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics; Wall St. Journal, 3/11/09).

FACT: "For all the age-discrimination complaints filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "merit findings" are issued on about 20% of the cases (an outcome favorable to the plaintiff, resulting in a negotiated settlement or benefits, but not necessarily the right to return to their job). Another 60% of cases are typically given a right-to-sue stamp by the EEOC, and the plaintiffs are free to file a civil court case (most are settled before they go to trial, according to Joanna Lahey, an economist from A&M University who studies age discrimination). The remaining 20% of cases are dismissed for administrative and other reasons" (federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics; Wall St. Journal, 3/11/09).

FACT: In December, 2009, the average length of joblessness for workers older than 55 was 25 weeks — compared with 18.7 weeks for those under 55 (AARP Public Policy Institute statistics; Wall St. Journal, 2/23/09).

FACT: Federal court records show that job-discrimination case filings declined by 40% from 1999 to 2007 (Wall St. Journal, 2/19/09).

FACT: "From 1979 through 2006, federal plaintiffs won just 15% of job-discrimination cases. By comparison, in all other civil cases, the win rate was 51%, according to a study to be published this month by the Harvard Law & Policy Review. The bad track record for discrimination cases has been ascribed to everything from a dearth of minorities on the bench to inherent difficulties in proving job discrimination, which is rarely overt. Another reason why discrimination suits might fare poorly, say lawyers who represent employers, is that companies can be quick to settle suits that appear credible" (Wall St. Journal, 2/19/09).

FACT: "A report last year by the Federal Judicial Center, the research arm of the federal courts, found that judges nationwide terminated 12.5% of employment-discrimination cases through summary judgments, before the suits reached trial. In 90% of those cases, it was the employers who requested the summary judgment. In contrast, the study found, 3% of contract cases and 1.7% of personal-injury and property-damage suits were dismissed via summary judgments" (Wall St. Journal, 2/19/09).

FACT: Overall, 50% the students who enter college never graduate. For African Americans, 60% never graduate (Forbes magazine, 2/2/09).

FACT: Women make up less than 20% of most executive MBA programs, nearly 30% of full-time M.B.A programs, and 40% of part-time MBA programs (Wall St. Journal, 1/21/09).

FACT: Almost 50.6% of U.S. women in business hold management or professional positions, but only 15.7% of Fortune 500 corporate officers are women (Wall St. Journal, 1/21/09).

FACT: Average age of the American worker is 40. The average age of the American federal employee is 47 (Oregonian, 12/23/06).


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