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Women entering workforce expect low paycheques than men

Washington: A new study involving a University of Guelph researcher has indicated that women have lower career expectations than men, anticipating smaller paycheques and longer waits for promotions.

When comparing career expectations of Canadian female and male university students, Prof. Sean Lyons discovered that women predict their starting salaries to be 14 per cent less than what the men forecast. This gap in wage expectations widens over their careers with women anticipating their earnings to be 18 per cent less than men after five years on the job.

As for their first promotion, the study found women expect to wait close to two months longer than men for their first step up the corporate ladder.

"It``s a bit of a chicken-and-egg-situation," said the business professor, who worked on the study with Carleton University professor Linda Schweitzer and Dalhousie University professor Ed Ng.

"Women know that they currently aren``t earning as much as men so they enter the workforce with that expectation. Because they don``t expect to earn as much, they likely aren``t as aggressive when it comes to negotiating salaries or pay raises and will accept lower-paying jobs than men, which perpetuates the existing inequalities," added Lyons.

The reality is there is a gap in salary with university-educated women earning only 68 per cent of the salaries of equally qualified men, according to a 2008 Canadian Labour Force Survey.

"This study shows that women aren``t blissfully ignorant and know the gender gap exists," said Lyons.

"This study shows that women aren``t blissfully ignorant and know the gender gap exists," added Lyons.

"Overall we found the male students`` expectations are way too high. These results may indicate that women are just more realistic about their salary expectations," added Lyons.

Gender gaps in salary expectation and career advancement were widest among students planning to enter male-dominated fields such as science and engineering and narrowest for those preparing for female-dominated or neutral fields such as arts and science.

The study will be published in the journal Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations.


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