Why do highly qualified women (still) earn less? Gender differences in long-term predictors of career success
Although women’s participation in higher education and in the labor market has increased markedly in the industrialized countries, there are still striking gender differences in career success. Women’s participation in medicine has increased dramatically in recent decades. I however, as in other occupational fields, women are still underrepresented in higher positions in medicine and have lower levels of career success than their male colleagues. Two widely used indicators of objective career success are promotions and salary, with the empirical data showing larger gender differences in salary.
The goal of this study was to analyze the long-term impact of total career interruptions, agency, and human capital variables on the careers of women and men in medicine, with salary being used as the criterion of career success. For this study male and female students were surveyed at a medical school and again 15 years later. The research found that women interrupted their careers for longer than men. The article observes that career interruptions are a detrimental factor to the career success of both women and men in medicine. Men had a substantially higher income at the second survey stage. Career interruptions, agentic personality traits, and high school grades were significant predictors of salary for both sexes.
Our study investigated gender differences in the long-term effects of education, work experience, agentic personality traits, and number of children on career success (i.e., salary) in medicine. German male and female students (N = 99) were surveyed at a German medical school (T1) and 15 years later (T2). Women interrupted their careers for longer than men (d = .92). Men had a substantially higher income at T2 (d = 1.07). Career interruptions, agentic personality traits, and high school grades were significant predictors of salary for both sexes. High final grades at medical school were significantly and positively related to salary but only for men. Low final grades at medical school and number of children predicted the length of career interruptions. For women, number of children was significantly and positively related to career interruptions. For men, number of children was significantly but negatively related to career interruptions. The findings corroborate research from other occupational fields showing that a discontinuous work history has a negative influence on career success and that human capital variables are better rewarded for men than for women.
Andrea Evers and Monika Sieverding
Why do Highly Qualified Women (Still) Earn Less? Gender Differences in Long-Term Predictors of Career Success
Psychology of Women Quarterly 0361684313498071, first published on August 14, 2013 doi:10.1177/03616843134980