Remote work has created a wealth of opportunities and freedom for many workers. But that doesn’t mean they’re all on a level playing field. Among men and women who work completely remotely, there is a 25% pay gap favoring men, according to a new report from Owl Labs about remote work’s role in the gender pay gap. Owl Labs surveyed 2,018 U.S. workers who worked both from home and at the office to see the pay disparities between male and female workers who always, sometimes, and never worked remotely.
In general, respondents both male and female who work remotely full-time or sometimes, are more likely to earn over $100,000 than respondents who never work remotely. This hints at the idea that remote work may be benefiting high performers.
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However, men who work full-time remote are 25% more likely to earn over $100,000 than women to work full-time remote, the data showed.
“Our theory for the pay disparity is that unfortunately face time in the office impacts women’s career progression and salary growth more than it does men,” says Sophia Bernazzai, content marketing manager for Owl Labs. “That traditional ‘time in the office, time spent at your seat’ as representation of the work and the quality of the work you’re completing. We think that’s a gender gap that is affecting women more so than men.”
Go remote, go big
Each gender has higher pay potential when they go remote.
- Men who always work remotely are 48% more likely to earn $100,000 or more than men who never work remotely
- Women who always work remotely are 53% more like to earn $100,000 or more than women who never work remotely
However, women are still at a disadvantage against men with the aforementioned 25% gap.
“We see time and time again that working remotely doesn’t mean that you earn less money; it does mean that men earn more than women,” says Bernazzani.
Earnings by job title
Among individual contributors, men who work remotely are the highest earners. They’re 124% more likely than male individual contributors who never work remotely and 58% more likely than male individual contributors who sometimes work remotely to earn $100,000 or more.
For women, the individual contributor who sometimes works remotely is most likely to earn more than $100,000, perhaps indicating the need for women to have face time in the office if they want to earn more.
For women managers, the need for face time is made abundantly clear: female managers who work remotely full-time are 16% less likely to earn $100,000 or more than female managers who never work remotely.
Male managers, on the other hand, can afford to be out of the office. Male managers who sometimes work remotely are 50% more likely to earn over $100,000 compared to their male counterparts who never work remotely. On the other hand, female managers who sometimes work remotely are only 33% more likely to earn over $100,000 compared to female managers who never work remotely.
According to the report, this indicates that “male managers consistently earn higher salaries than female managers, regardless of their working styles,” and that face time is important for female advancement but not necessarily male.
Face time – or not
Women worry about needing face time in order to get promotions when they work remotely, but male remote workers don’t worry about that as much. They don’t need to: men who always work remotely are 45% more likely to expect two or more promotions than women who always work remote.
“I think that can be a confidence gap between men and women, where [men] may just be more confident about their progression,” says Bernazzani.
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