High-paying Promotions in Male and Female Managers

by Jeanne M. Brett, Ph.D., and Linda K. Stroh, Ph.D.

The American Psychological Association


Female managers don't increase their earnings as much as male managers when they seek employment outside the companies they are working for, say researchers in a new study.

In a longitudinal study of 610 managers from 20 different Fortune 500 companies, psychologists Jeanne M. Brett, Ph.D., of Northwestern University and Linda K. Stroh, Ph.D., of Loyola University at Chicago found that female managers who changed companies between 1989 and 1991 did not increase their pay (salaries plus bonuses) any more than the female managers who stayed at the same company. But for the male managers it was different. Those who switched jobs during the same period increased their income by 11 percent.

"It could be that the female managers were more likely than the male managers to receive a matching counter-offer and so decided to stay," said Dr. Brett. "Yet this would imply that the female managers' outside offers were less than the outside offers the males were receiving."

Another possibility for why these female managers did not find equal compensation in the external job market, say the authors, is that they "may be attracted to smaller organizations that are more family-friendly but pay less than the larger companies. However, both male and female managers were likely to switch to smaller companies." The female managers were job hunting for the same reasons as the male managers: dissatisfaction with the job or lack of opportunities in the company.

Article: "Jumping Ship: Who Benefits From an External Labor Market Career Strategy," by Jeanne M. Brett, Ph.D., Northeastern University and Linda K. Stroh, Ph.D., Loyola University at Chicago, in Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 82, No. 3.

Jeanne M. Brett, Ph.D., can be reached at (847) 491-8075.



The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 151,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 50 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 58 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

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