Thursday, November 15, 2012

Perceived Pay Gap

Perceived Views On Future Jobs and Income

I set out to better understand the perceived views of men and women on their future income and jobs. A study done by Judy Goldberg Dey and Catherine Hill presented results that showed there is an apparent pay gap between men and women. They found this pay gap was apparent right after men and women graduated from college and the pay gap worsened over time (Dey and Hill). Knowing that a pay gap existed I sought out to understand if this pay gap was already realized before men and women gained a job in their chosen area of profession.


Because there does exist a pay gap between men and women I hypothesize that a pay gap will exist in the perceived incomes for men and women.


I created a 4-question survey in order to see if men and women differed on their answers about future careers and income. The survey was given to 22 college students. Out of the 22 students that took the survey 10 were female and 12 were male. The age range of those who took the survey was no less than 18 and no greater than 34. In order to get more relevant results a control was put in place to survey those with similar career paths. There were two main career paths that were controlled for: School Teacher and Physical Sciences. Because the surveyed population is largely of the LDS faith the results have good internal validity but weak external validity.


To get the results I took the averages of all of the answers for both men and female. The results showed for both careers on average men had a higher perceived income than women. The biggest gap was between men and women in the teaching profession. Having the biggest gap in teacher income was a surprise to me. These results could go in line with the idea that socialization of a pay gap affects the perceived incomes of men and women. Because there is a difference in men and women’s perceived income this could also influence the accepting of different pay for men and women right out of college. Since women on average have a lower perceived starting income than men it adds to the problem of women accepting lower pay for being just as qualified for a job as a male. I feel that in order to erase the pay gap there needs to be a bigger focus on helping women see that they can make more money that what they feel is acceptable right out of college. As women do this their view of how much is an acceptable starting income will start to align more along with what men feel is acceptable. 

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