Is Gender Equality In The Workplace Still An Issue? Studies Say Yes!

As a society, we’ve come a long way since the 1950s when women entered the workforce in record numbers, and their male colleagues welcomed them with the maturity of 13-year-old boys. But, as far as we have come since then in gender equality, there’s still reason to believe we have more work to do. According to a survey conducted by BambooHR of more than 1,000 business professionals, it appears that men and women are treated differently when it comes to reward and recognition programs.

To begin with, men appear to receive more recognition than women. 50 percent of men surveyed said they receive recognition for good work a few times a month or more frequently compared to only 43 percent of women. On the flip side, 52 percent of women report they receive recognition monthly or less frequently, compared to 44 percent of men. And since there’s virtually no data to support a claim that men are simply outperforming women (which might justify more recognition), this gap is troubling.

There also appears to be a disparity in rewards. Consider, for example, birthday gifts. Survey results suggest that men are having better birthdays than women in the workplace. 43 percent of women claim their work doesn’t offer any birthday gift while only 38 percent of men said the same. And for those who do receive gifts, more men report receiving every type of gift (e.g. birthday off work, monetary bonus, gift cards, etc.) except for greeting cards (29 percent of women receive greeting cards compared to 24 percent of men).

And the disparity doesn’t end there. Men appear to be receiving birthday gifts of higher value than women. Twice as many men received gifts worth $100-500 (16 percent compared to 8 percent of women). More than twice as many men received gifts worth $500-1000 (7 percent to 3 percent). And 4 percent of men received gifts worth more than $1,000 compared to only 1 percent of women. On the other end of the spectrum, twice as many women received gifts worth less than $10 (12 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men), and women received more gifts worth “nothing” (57 percent compared to 47 percent).

For more information on how to successfully reward and recognize your employees now, watch the on-demand webinar, “How to Build Productivity through Reward and Recognition.”

So, why do men appear to be more fortunate than women in the rewards and recognition game? It might be hard to draw a conclusion without a little cynicism. But the study did offer one potential reason for the disparity in recognition. Men claim they need more frequent recognition than women.

46 percent of male respondents said they need recognition of their performance, at least, a few times a month compared to 40 percent of women who said the same. In a similar vein, 58 percent of women said they need recognition monthly or less frequently compared to 47 percent of men.

Men may even go so far as to give up money for recognition. Men (36 percent) were more likely than women (24 percent) to choose company-wide email recognition instead of a cash bonus while women (76 percent) were more likely than men (64 percent) to prefer an unpublicized bonus. Are employers aware—and accommodating to the fact—that men need more recognition than women? Or are men merely more accustomed to receiving frequent recognition?

Perhaps surprisingly, men also appear to be less loyal to their current company than women in the short term. More men (32 percent) than women (25 percent) claimed they’re likely to leave their company in the next six months and in the next year (39 percent and 35 percent).

While it may be old news to say that men have it better off in the workplace, this study seems to indicate that it’s still worth discussing. Why are men receiving more recognition and better rewards (despite being less loyal to their employers)? Each of us—yes, even the men—might stand to benefit from addressing these issues in our companies to make sure everyone is treated fairly and equally, regardless of gender. Simply put: it’s the right thing to do.

For the full summary of our Reward and Recognition research, go here.