Pay Differences Among College Students: Are Women the Weaker Sex?

December 7, 2012 Posted by admin

Collette M. Arens Batesa* and Joe Dobsonb
aDepartment of Business, Mount Mercy University
1330 Elmhurst Drive, NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402, USA
b
Department of Management & Marketing, Western Illinois University
1 University Circle, Macomb, IL  61455, U.S.A.

Abstract
Our society continues to indicate real remnants of gender discrimination.  One artifact of this discrimination is the gender gap in pay that remains after all other known factors are controlled for.  While many explanations are offered for this, one is that women are willing to work for less money by accepting lower salaries.  Research suggests there may be gender differences in negotiating styles, but there is a lack of understanding in the role gender plays in negotiating context and behaviors.  Further, artifacts of the study design and implementation may play a role in our lack of understanding.  The goal of this study is to understand gender differences in initial salary requests so that we, as teachers and mentors, can assist our students, particularly female students, in increasing their earning potential.  Subjects were students at a regional midwestern university enrolled in the introductory management course.  The results of the study indicate real differences between men and women in initial salary requests.  Women asked for less wages than what the men asked for, regardless of their college major.  One of the benefits of this study is that, with this result, a program aiming at improving the negotiating skills of our female students can be developed.  This can help reduce the gender gap in pay.

Keywords:  Gender discrimination, pay equity, negotiation.

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