Poll: Managers of Women Get Smaller Paychecks

October 14, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A manager whose direct reports, peers or supervisors are largely female and whose peers and supervisors are younger typically gets a smaller paycheck, a new study found.

According to the research by two university professors, manager pay drops substantially as the percentage of women that the manager supervises increases, according to CCH. For example, on average, a male or female manager whose subordinates include 80% women takes home about $7,000 less in pay than a manager whose subordinates are 80% men. Women managers generally earn 9% less than their male counterparts, the study said.

For example, a manager whose direct reports are women receives approximately $9,000 less than one who supervises 50% women. On average, managerial pay decreases by about $500 for each 10% increase in the percentage of that person’s female peers. On average, a manager whose supervisor is a woman gets approximately $2,000 less pay than one whose supervisor is a man.

“One explanation for the negative affect on a manager’s pay based on the gender of their subordinates, peers and supervisors is that women are perceived as less valuable in the workplace, due to the presumption – true or not – that women are more likely to be absent more often than men, take maternity leave, acquire less training and skills due to family responsibility and be less committed to their work and jobs,” said the study’s authors Cheri Ostroff, of Teachers College, Columbia University and Leanne E. Atwater, of Arizona State University West. “Women may also receive less authority and power in their positions than men, thereby receiving fewer of the resources they need to contribute in more substantial and valued ways in the organizations. And women managers are more likely than male managers to work with and supervise other women, hence reducing their compensation even further.”

Findings about the relationship between age and pay indicate that as the average age of a manager’s subordinates become younger or older than 40, the manager’s pay drops. For example, a manager whose direct reports are 30-somethings on average receives about $4,000 less in their paycheck than a manager whose employees are around age 40, while a manager who supervises a group of 50-year-olds on average takes home about $4,000 less pay than a manager whose subordinates are around age 40.

Further, managers whose peer group is younger than age 40 on average receive lower pay than managers whose peer group is over 40. Managers whose supervisor is younger than 40 receive lower pay than managers whose supervisor is over 40.

The study involved more than 2,000 managers from more than 500 organizations