Women are not seeing as many higher-range pay raises as men, and fewer women than men also report being compensated fairly. In our recent study of Massachusetts’ life sciences cluster published with MassBio, we found gender-specific differences which showed that women are more likely to receive a pay rise in a range of 0–2% and 2–4%, whereas men prevail in the 4–6%, 6–10%, and >10% categories.
Interesting disparities come to light when taking into consideration the level of employment. With the exception of contributor level (when an individual is performing technical or operational responsibility independent of supervisory responsibilities), a greater proportion of men had a pay rise in the range of 6% and more. This shows that when progressing through the career ladder, women are likely to secure smaller pay increases. This clearly illustrates a gender disparity, which, when accumulated over time, contributes to a gender pay-gap.
Not surprisingly, across most levels of employment, women view compensation as less fair, compared to men. Furthermore, segmenting the data by company size, we found that women working in large companies (>1000 employees) are the least satisfied with the fairness of the compensation, followed by women working in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (~40% and ~30% respectively report it is unfair). In both cases, a smaller proportion of men reported unfair pay (27.8% and 20.9% in large and SME companies respectively).
The data shows that overall, women are on the wrong side of the compensation bias. Whether it be real or perceived, women are disadvantaged in their attainment of the level of compensation awards seen by men. This has far-reaching implications for the sector, and for individual companies. The level of transparency, fair process, and equality must be addressed if talented women are to be retained and progressed in the life sciences talent pipeline.