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Moving Up the Ladder- Tips on Your New Job

Struggling to Move Up The Ladder: The Glass Ceiling

The glass ceiling theory, in the field of economics, is the theory that states that women and minorities have a hard time reaching the higher rungs of the corporate ladder, no matter what their particular achievements or qualifications may be. When this theory was first employed, it did not include both minority men as well as women. Instead, it originally was only used in reference to women and the perceived barriers they endured with respect to their careers. However, today, the glass ceiling theory includes not only women and the apparent problems they have in advancing in their careers, but also minority men and the perceived barriers they endure in the advancements of their careers. In general, for a glass ceiling to be real, it has to first meet four, distinct criteria. Even though laws such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act are, in theory at least, supposed to make certain that discrimination in employment does not occur or continue, many studies and much research over the ensuing years and decades have arrived at results that have suggested that the glass ceiling theory still has some validity.

The Glass Ceiling Effect

The theory of the glass ceiling effect says that women and minority men are affected in their attempts at corporate advancement, while white men are not. The glass ceiling theory proposes that women and minority men are not hired at the same rate as white men, even if said women and minority men are capable and qualified of doing the same job just as well. The glass ceiling theory also proposes that women and minority men are paid less money for essentially doing the same job as white men. The glass ceiling theory asserts that corporations look less upon the actual qualifications and achievements of women and minority men instead of their gender and race.

For the glass ceiling to be in effect at a place of employment, various criteria have to be in place. For example, there has to be an observable gender-race variation that cannot be explained by any job-specific, employer characteristics. Next, there has to be visible gender-race variation that occurs more at an outcome’s higher levels than it does at an outcome’s lower levels. An observable gender-race inequality in career opportunities to advance into higher rungs in the corporate ladder must also exist. Finally, the last criterion is that a visible inequality has to exist over the course of one’s entire career.

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Glass Ceiling Statistics

The glass ceiling theory proposes that certain demographics in society are affected disproportionately compared to other demographics. The demographics that are more affected are said to be women of all races as well as minority men. The glass ceiling theory relates to women who have the same education, training experience, job titles and profession as men in their field of employment, yet who still manage to earn less than the aforementioned men in their field of employment. In fact, based on 2003 stats that are managed by the U.S. Census Bureau, one analogy that is cited a lot is that women only earn about 75.3 cents on the dollar compared to men. The 2003 stats that are managed by the U.S. Census Bureau are based on numbers that relate to a wide comparison of full-time employees who work year-round. However, opponents of the glass ceiling theory are quick to point out that the difference in earnings between men and women relates to other factors, such as women willfully taking time off of work to start a family and raise their kids.

While women were originally the demographic that the term “glass ceiling” applied to, minority men have also been included in this theory. For the purposes of “glass ceiling,” anyone who is not white (Hispanic, black, Asian) is considered a minority. According to a study done by the Federal Glass Ceiling Commission (from 1995), up to 97 percent of the senior management in some of the biggest companies in America are white men. However, according to the same study, when the composition of the workforce beneath these white men is analyzed, grounds for concern arise. The study found that a full 57 percent of the workforce beneath these white men managers is composed of ethnic minorities (Hispanics, blacks or Asians). Again, according to the same study, discrepancies in pay for the same job positions between minorities and white men were found, with blacks in particular making up 21 percent less money than their white male counterparts in the same job positions.

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