Eagerness to accept job offers causing gender income wage gap

One of the key attributes to the income wage gap between genders can be due to the differences in job searching behaviour, says a new study.
By: | May 4, 2023

Different approaches adopted during job searches is significantly affecting the wage gap between men and women, with women more likely to  accept job offers earlier than men, who tend to wait out for better offers with higher salaries.

According to a new study by Oxford University Press entitled,  “Gender Differences in Job Search and the Earnings Gap: Evidence from the Field and Lab”, women on average accepted positions about one month earlier than their male counterparts, with 60% of women accepting a job before graduation, compared to 52% of men. There was a clear and large gender gap in accepted offers, and the gap narrowed in favour of women over the course of the job search.

The study’s findings have led researchers to believe that this gender difference can be attributed by men’s greater risk tolerance and overconfidence in their salary potential. In fact, they find systematic patterns between these traits and search outcomes.

For example, people less likely to take risks reported lower reservation wages and accepted offers earlier, especially at the beginning of their career journey.

READ: Breaking the glass ceiling: Closing the gender pay gap with pay transparency

Patricia Cortes, Associate Professor at the Questrom School of Business, and the paper’s lead author, said, “Gender differences in risk preferences and overconfidence about future job offers result in women having lower reservation earnings, which translates into earlier acceptance of lower-paying job offers. Gender differences in these traits may explain as much as 30% of the difference between men’s and women’s earnings in their first jobs.”