Why the American wage gap is not clear-cut

America's gender wage gap may not be as easy to fix as President Obama thinks.

America's gender wage gap may not be as easy to fix as President Obama thinks.

We have heard about the salary gap between men and women before, from the likes of President Barack Obama to Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, but the answer to this problem is not entirely up to human resources professionals.

Take a moment to look at your company's HR software solutions and skim through a collection of employee profiles. Which gender holds more senior positions and which departments largely consist of women? According to research from NerdWallet, women choose to work in "lower-paying fields" whereas men will sign up for the challenge of supervisor positions.

To truly identify if there is a salary gap between men and women, Forbes Magazine recommends looking at the salaries of each position. On the bright side female nurses make about 96 cents for every male dollar. However, when it comes to financial advisors that gap is 66 cents.

Sandberg said in her book "Lean In" that women are often afraid to take the next step to move forward with their careers because they are afraid to be "bad mothers" who choose a career over having a family. In these situations, any pay gap is more on the shoulders of the individual.

This is among one of many reasons why women may not be getting paid as much as their man counterparts, but human resources departments that are looking to reduce their own pay gap should try to give women staff members the chance to advance within the company.

If employers choose to operate the same way they always have, they may lose out on the chance to grow. The wage gap goes beyond pay differential, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Work sectors that remain gender-dominant will only cause deeper rifts in the professional world.