Have you ever gotten a bad feeling at work? When you’re suddenly out of the communication loop or you start to think your boss might be setting you up to fail? Worse yet, you might have seen your current role advertised on LinkedIn, or some other job board made you think your position might not be safe anymore.
In reality, these are just a few of the signs that you might be getting fired from your job. At most companies, terminating an employee has a certain paper trail associated with it.
But what happens after you get fired? The answer might be different depending on whether you’re a man or woman. To learn more, we surveyed over 1,000 people who’ve been terminated about how it happened, whether it was fair, and what ended up happening afterward. Read on as we break down the potential gender biases people face after being let go from their jobs.
Blessings in Disguise?
Being let go can happen to anyone. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your termination, it’s what you do after getting fired that really matters. Experts recommend not doing or saying anything you might regret in the heat of the moment and to start sprucing up your resume and cover letters as quickly as possible.
Keep the language positive. There’s no reason why you should mention being fired in any of your next job applications, and using phrases like “job ended” can help avoid any negative connotations where possible.
Still, what happens at your next job might have more to do with your gender than the reason behind your prior termination.
Men who’d been fired earned an average of 1.3 percent more at their subsequent job – going from $49,005 to an average of $49,642 at their next place of employment.
Women did not experience the same monetary success, however. Instead of earning more, women saw a 24 percent decrease in their salary after being fired. While women made just over $44,000 at their previous job, they earned roughly $33,500 following their termination. For most working Americans, their rate of pay tends to be one element of their jobs they’re least satisfied with.
What Happens Next
Plenty of topics qualify as “taboo” in the workplace, but it’s OK to ask questions about your termination. Wrongful termination does happen, and it’s important to consult a lawyer before officially accepting a severance package.
According to our study, 60 percent of women and 53 percent of men didn’t believe the terms of their termination were just or fair. In the past, women have been (illegally) fired for getting pregnant, taking maternity leave, and other discriminatory reasons. Despite the legal protections in place, pregnancy discrimination claims are still widespread. Fighting or appealing your employer’s decision to fire you can take both time and resources.
While more women suggested their terminations were filed under unfair circumstances, men were slightly more inclined to fight for their jobs. Twenty-four percent of men and 22 percent of women said they tried to keep their jobs after being let go.
Women were also more likely to cry after being let go. More than 1 in 3 women admitted to shedding tears after being fired compared to just 9 percent of men.
Losing your job isn’t always a direct result of poor performance.
Thirty-five percent of men and 29 percent of women said they lost their job as a result of budgetary cuts. There are different approaches to scaling back costs, including outsourcing tasks and expenses. Experts say automation could be a part of this outsourcing process in the years to come. By 2030, it is estimated that automation could be responsible for the loss of 73 million U.S. jobs.
Men (21 percent) were also more likely than women (16 percent) to identify poor performance as the reason for losing their job. However, 17 percent of women admitted they were terminated for poor attendance, and 9 percent were fired for being late too many times.
There are many emotions a person can experience after losing his or her job. Without fully understanding why you’re being let go or what you’re going to do next, learning you’ve been let go can be one of the most difficult situations to process.
While 57 percent of men and women each admitted to experiencing frustration after being fired, 60 percent of women also felt sadness. Excluding disgust, women were more likely than men to experience negative emotions after being terminated. More than half said they felt angry, while over 40 percent of women each felt embarrassed or afraid.
In contrast, men were more than twice as likely to feel joy after being fired from their job and nearly twice as likely to feel excited.
Support You Need
Certain signs can indicate you might soon be terminated from your job, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always see it coming before it happens. Being let go can make you feel angry, sad, embarrassed, and disappointed, but you’ll eventually move on. Unfortunately, the next step might be more beneficial for men than for women. On average, men earned increases in their salary after being let go, but women’s salaries decreased by 24 percent.
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We surveyed 1,031 people who’d been fired at some point in their professional lives. Of these participants, 49 percent were women, and 51 percent were men, with less than 1 percent identifying as a gender not listed in our study. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 75, with an average of 36 and a standard deviation of 10.1. Results were then tested for statistical significance, and those significance values were noted in the infographics where applicable.
Fair Use Statement
Getting fired can be tough. Want to help your readers know what to expect if it ever happens to them? Feel free to share the results of this study for any noncommercial use. We only ask that you include a link back to this page so that our contributors earn credit for their work too.