Since publishing The eLearning Guild’s 2014 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report (available to all Guild members, free and paid), there have been quite a few comments on Twitter about the disparity between male and female pay. As the Guild’s 2014 Salary Infographic shows (Figure 1), women’s average salaries in 2014 were 9.7%, on average, lower than men’s average salaries and 4.4% lower than the global average salary.

Figure 1: Women’s average salaries versus men’s average salaries in The eLearning Guild’s 2014 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report

(Editor’s Note: The eLearning Guild’s salary and compensation reports have been tracking this issue since 2010.)

The report included 2,476 (41.80%) male and 3,447 (58.20%) female respondents, including 13% contractors, 86.4% employees, and 0.6% unemployed. Of people responding to the survey, 89.3% were full-time and 10.7% were part time.

Figure 2 shows that for most countries and regions, women’s salaries are less than men’s salaries. India was an exception this year. (See my March 6 article for a more in-depth discussion of the 2014 Global eLearning Salary & Compensation Report.)

Figure 2: Average salary by gender, by region, and country

How do we begin to explain the salary gap between men and women? People (mostly women) wrote to me to ask if it could be explained by education level or job responsibilities. The answer, unfortunately, is “No.” The difference is explained, as it is in other fields, primarily by gender. Not a happy thought, but if you read on you’ll understand it better and learn what you can do about it.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) research, which studied full-time, year-round women workers, found that they are paid 77 percent of what men are paid (see Resources). Some people assume that the gender gap can be explained by women taking time off with children but AAUW’s research found that among full-time workers only a year after college graduation, women were paid just 82% of what their male counterparts were paid. Their research also found that women face a pay gap that grows with age. 

If you read the Institute for Women’s Policy Research The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation Fact Sheet (see Resources), you’ll see that women’s median weekly earnings are lower in nearly all occupations, whether they work in female-dominated occupations, male-dominated occupations, or occupations dominated by a mix of females and males.

The World Economic Forum calculates complex global gender gaps by country and region. Their report, The Global Gender Gap 2012, underscores the impact of gender-based income disparities. Some countries in the world have made great strides in women’s economic impact, especially the Nordic countries. This report goes beyond wage gap and computes political, education, and other indices.

Meghan Casserly, staff writer at Forbes, says there’s an expectation wage gap between men and women in the workforce, too. Women actually expect lower wages than men and get them, and until we use our power to negotiate on our behalf (by looking up wages on Glassdoor, for instance), we are not doing ourselves any favors. In fact, research from Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever shows that women simply don’t negotiate! So they end up with lower wages to begin with. And since raises compound on existing pay, men’s pay tends to rise faster. Maha Atal, a Forbes contributor, provides a list of sites to help with the wage gap.

What can we do about this? The first thing we need to do is to understand the situation so we can explain it to our children so they are not in this situation. Then we need to expect the same wages and negotiate for them. I long ago found a great site on negotiating for women called “” Check it out.

One thing is clear. Women need to be better advocates for themselves at the very least, and that starts with knowledge. Start with the list of resources below. Knowledge is power. If you think you don’t have any power, you’re right. (And that’s one of the reasons women are paid less.)


American Association of University Women. The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, 2013 edition. AAUW, 2013.

Atal, Maha. “How much do you know about the gender pay gap?” Forbes. 18 April 2012.

Babcock, Linda and Sara Laschever. Women Don’t Ask. Bantam, 2007.

Casserly, Megan. “The Real Origins Of The Gender Pay Gap—And How We Can Turn It Around.” Forbes. 5 July 2012.

Hausmann, Ricardo, Laura D. Tyson, and Saadia Zahidi. The World Economic Forum: The Global Gender Pay Gap Report 2012. World Economic Forum, 2012.

Hegewisch, Ariane, Claudia Williams, and Vanessa Harbin. The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation. Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2012.