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Gender bias is alive and well in top jobs, pay

There's no denying that there are more women with management titles than ever before, in fact, the overall split of managers is nearly 5 0/5 0 between males and females in the U.S. in 2007.

But, a new survey by the executive jobs search Web site TheLadders.com finds a vast gender chasm still exists in at the senior management level, with men outnumbering women by a 6 to 1 margin. The survey also found big gaps in pay for women who were able to break through the "glass ceiling" and land posts will annual pay exceeding $100,000 or more.

Seventy-one percent of respondents said gender discrimination is alive and well when it comes to executive compensation, with women taking home less than their male counterparts. In a similar vein, 66.3 percent said women do not have as many opportunities to join the ranks of senior executives as male.

But when it comes to executive performance, 54.1 percent said they consider women just as competent as men, according to the survey which was released earlier this month.

As for family-friendly office environments, 63 percent of executives said their workplace offers no assistance in the form of day care, on-site nursing facilities or time-off to attend children's school activities.

One particularly disturbing statistic emerged from the survey -- 51.2 percent of female executives said they have experienced some form of sexual harassment.

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Taking time off (or not)

More than half of U.S. workers fail to take all of their vacation days, according to a survey released by the New York-based staffing and outsourcing firm, Hudson. And one in five said forget a week-long hiatus from work, they'll go for long-weekends, instead.

Excessive workloads, fear of downsizing and the hopes of promotion are some of the things standing in the way of workers and downtime, according to Peg Buchenroth, Hudson senior vice president for human resources.

"A lot of people feel they can't take time off," Buchenroth said. "Either they have too much work to do or they're just concerned about their their job security and don't want to be absent."

One-third of survey respondents said they get less than a week of vacation time each year, 49 percent receive more than 11 annual vacation days, and 13 percent get five weeks or more.

Even among those who will tear themselves away from work, many can't or won't achieve a complete separation. Twenty-five percent of employees said their boss expects them to be accessible while they are on vacation, a number that rose to one-in-three among managers. But a majority of employees (58 percent) admitted they felt refreshed and recharged after a break from the jobs, though 21 percent said taking vacation made them more stressed out.

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Clean staff

Fewer American workers are testing positive for on-the-job drug use than at any time since 1988, according to the Quest diagnostics' Drug Testing Index. The national laboratory company said drug use positivity rates have tumbled 72 percent, from 13.6 percent in 1988 to 3.8 percent in 2006.

The index also noted a substantial dip in the number of workers testing positive to methamphetamine. In 2004, 33 of every 10,000 people tested were found to have meth in their samples. Last year, the positivity rate was down to 18 of every 10,000.

Quest tests some 9 million American workers and job applicants each year.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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