Women with Female Managers Bring Home Higher Wages

August 18, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Women are still earning about 20% less than their male counterparts, but as more women break through gender barriers into higher positions, they have increased wages for the women working under them, according to a recent study.

The study by two sociologists – one from North Carolina at Chapel Hill and one from the University of California at Irvine – set out to find out what happens to workers when more women begin breaking through the glass ceiling and snagging upper management positions, according to a press release.

Some of the findings of the study, based on responses from 1.3 million American workers from 2000 census results, include:

  • The disparity between men and women’s earnings remains unchanged when the number of junior-level female managers rises from 2% to more than half. However, when women become senior managers, female workers earn 91% of men’s salaries.
  • Increasing the number of female managers in junior positions makes no difference to the gender gap — women, on average, continue to earn about 20% less than men.
  • Men who work for women managers seem to do slightly worse in income than men who work for men, regardless of whether the women managers are in senior positions.
  • Men work in jobs that are 70% male on average; women work in jobs that are 70% female on average.

Studies such as these have been prolific. One study, by Catalyst in July, found that the number of corporate officer positions held by women dropped by 0.23% over the last three years (See Study: Number of Women in Top Corporate Spots Inched Up in 2005 ).

A poll by CFO magazine found that the gender divide is even more pronounced for women in executive finance positions, with more than a third of women saying they had been denied a promotion or a raise within five years, at least in part because of their gender (See Women in Finance Still Bumping into Glass Ceiling ).

The study was conducted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sociologist Philip Cohen and University of California at Irvine sociologist Matt Huffman, and was recently presented at an American Sociological Association meeting in Montreal.