Working the Wage Gap

Women expect to earn—and earn—substantially less than men across their careers.

WOMEN NEED NINE years of experience to reach the wage level that men anticipate receiving upon graduation, according to a new paper. Not only that, males expect to earn an average salary of €49,000 (approximately US$54,114) after nine years’ experience, whereas the maximum average annual wage that women ever expect to earn is €51,000 (US$56,322).

The paper was authored by Lukas Kiessling of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn, Germany, and the University of Bonn; Pia Pinger of the University of Cologne in Germany; and Philipp Seegers and Jan Bergerhoff, both of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. They based their paper on a study of 15,348 students and 1,155 graduates.

The researchers found that most women expect to earn less than their male counterparts. The finding leads the researchers to speculate that because women expect lower wages, they leave little scope for negotiation and receive lower offers, whereas men enter negotiations expecting higher salary offers.

Pinger proposes that offering negotiation training could possibly be a more effective way to reduce the gender wage gap than policies that encourage women to enter male-dominated fields.

Gender Differences inWage Expectations: Sorting,Children, and NegotiationStyles” was published online in August 2019 as part of a Discussion Paper Series from the IZA Institute of Labor Economics.