Gender pay gap matched by a gender salary expectations gap, find researchers

New research reveals that the gender pay gap appears to be matched by a gender salary expectations gap.  While women need nine years of prospective experience to reach the expected wage level that males anticipate to receive upon graduation, research by the University of Cologne reveals that males expect to earn more after nine years experience than women expect to earn across their entire careers.

Professor Pia Pinger found that even as students, women always expect to earn substantially less than their male counterparts, mostly due to factors relating to occupational sorting and negotiation styles.

This wage gap in expectations mimics the actual wage gap between men and women. The similarity between these two suggests that expectations reflect the expected outcome of future wage setting.

As women expect lower wages, they leave little scope for negotiation, therefore are more likely to be pushed down to their reservation wage. Whereas men are much bolder and enter negotiations with higher numbers.

“The difference in wage negotiation strategies may explain why there is a strong link between expected and actual wages. This difference prompts the question of whether a bolder negotiation style pays off, especially for women,” says Professor Pinger.

Professor Pinger proposes that negotiation training might be an effective measure to reduce the gender wage gap and that such measures could be more effective than policies that merely encourage women to enter male-dominated fields.

These findings come from a study on 15, 348 students and 1,155 graduates.

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