Male CEOs With Daughters Place Higher Value on Female Employees
Over the years, I've heard explanations and justifications for the phenomenon known as the gender wage gap. One popular explanation revolves around the argument that men are much more likely to negotiate their starting salaries, and to ask for pay raises more aggressively than women. Additionally, it is argued that the risks and costs associated with female employees who may at some point seek temporary or permanent maternity leave, justify paying women less than men. Whatever the case may be, worldwide, women earn salaries that are between 9 and 18 percent less than their male counterparts who have the same job descriptions and possess identical qualifications.
So what's a professional woman's best bet for avoiding the gender wage gap in her own career? According to a new study out of Columbia Business School, male CEOs who have daughters are more likely to pay their female employees more. The study, which examined the salaries of 734,200 workers at 6,320 firms, from 1995 through 2006 in Denmark, found that:
[A] short time after male CEOs had daughters, women’s wages rose relative to men’s, shrinking the gender wage gap at their firms. The birth of a son, in contrast, had no effect on the wage gap. First daughters who were also the firstborn children of a CEO had a bigger effect than subsequent daughters, decreasing the gap by almost 3 percent. First daughters who were not the firstborn children of the CEOs had a less dramatic but still significant effect, closing the gap by 0.8 percent. The overall reduction in the gender wage gap was 0.5 percent.
The researchers also found that these effects were strongest at firms with 50 or fewer employees, which they attribute to the fact that CEOs at smaller firms are typically more directly involved in making decisions that affect the pay of individual workers than CEOs at much larger firms.
The effects were even stronger for employees with more education. “You would expect this given the potential for vicarious identification. Most CEOs went to college and have more formal education than the average person; they also expect their daughters to be educated,” Ross explains. It follows that CEOs may be more apt to see their more educated women employees as resembling a possible future incarnation of their daughters.
(h/t WSJ's Ideas Market)