Study: The Old Boys Network is Real and Explains Part of the Pay Gap

Schmooze your way to success. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And, it turns out, it’s not what you do, but who your manager is.

A new, unpublished study from Harvard Business School’s Zoë Cullen and UCLA’s Ricardo Perez-Truglia finds that men and women get promoted at the same rate when their bosses are female, but when men have a male boss, they climb the corporate ladder faster. The gender of women’s bosses makes no difference in their careers.

The gender pay gap is defined as the difference in average male salary vs average female salary. You can have everyone in similar positions paid the exact same amount and still have a gender pay gap if one group holds a higher percentage of highly paid jobs. 

This study shows that one-third of the gender pay gap can be explained by the men working for male managers phenomenon, which means that two-thirds of the gap comes from other sources–like a personal choice. For instance, another Harvard study showed that male bus drivers chose to work more hours and take on the more difficult routes than female drivers, thus earning more money

To keep reading, click here: Study: The Old Boys Network is Real and Explains Part of the Pay Gap

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10 thoughts on “Study: The Old Boys Network is Real and Explains Part of the Pay Gap

  1. “This is especially true in the age of #metoo where some men are unwilling to meet one on one with women.” Any man with such poor impulse control that he cannot trust himself alone with a female co-worker, or who — in the alternative — pathologically distrusts all women, has no place in management. Instead of focusing on the career choices of its female employees, a company truly interested in “keep[ing] an eye out for bias and mitigat[ing] the facts that cause it” needs to focus on possible unconscious bias on the part of its managers.

    1. They aren’t claiming low impulse control. They are claiming that women will make false accusations.

        1. In this time of rampant discrimination by law enforcement, especially against POC, can you blame men for wanting to protect themselves from false accusations?

  2. I drove long haul bus for a short while and learned that some male drivers took on more driving because they had large families. The way the men themselves described it, the reason wasn’t financial as much as that they didn’t like caring for or being around those noisy kids any more than they had to. Taking on long working hours was a way to minimize their time with family while appearing to be fine upstanding providers. So when you note that women take less overtime than men as a personal choice, you should take into account gender-based family dynamics too. Can you imagine women choosing to take on more overtime so that they could avoid screaming kids?

    1. When my daughter was two, there were triplets in her daycare class. I said, “i wonder what type of job both parents have where it’s financially better to have three toddlers in daycare than to have one of them stay home?”

      And then I thought about it. If I had three toddlers, I’d work just to pay for daycare. 🙂

      1. Oh man. I don’t have children, but I was a babysitter in high school. I, too, would work just to pay for daycare.

        Taking care of babies and children is so, so hard! At least in an office, the sh*t is figurative. And at least in an office, you can walk away and take a break.

        People who have never taken care of children have no idea how exhausting it is. (And again – my only reference point is babysitting, which is a million times easier than parenting!)

  3. There’s always been a division in attitude towards work by gender. Men have open options-availability, types of jobs, etc.– all without any obligations to deal with daily household duties, which has always been assumed to be a woman’s job. Having that freedom to not be obligated to those duties, will always make it much easier for men to be available to do work activities. Women, on the other hand, having been stuck with being the primary household keeper despite career choices, have to make compromises in schedules and work duties or make sacrifices in family time but paying for a caretaker of sorts. Having personally had to modify my career several times, which substantially affected my salary growth, many times during my work life, I wished for a person who could do the “wife duties” that men seem to assume will always be done. This attitude follows through into the workplace, where certain duties are always passed on or assumed by women, without even putting a #Metoo thought. We, women, can assume all jobs that men do, but to be paid equally we need to also think the same kind of priority and feel little guilt in using paid help to take care of things that limit our ability to be in the workforce.

    1. My advice to young women new to the workplace is always the same:

      * Do not bring baked goods to work. You need to be known as that awesome engineer, not the pretty woman who makes great cookies
      * Do not volunteer for the activities committee
      * Do not help set up for or clean up after any social event
      * Do not do anything that can be even remotely perceived as “women’s work.”

      It’s so hard. We are so conditioned to be the ones who jump up and start clearing the tables and washing the dishes. But if the men aren’t doing it, then we shouldn’t be doing it, either. And if it’s important to the business, then the business should pay someone to do it.

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