Publication Date

March 1988


Starting and current salaries of 3,564 men and 1,053 women hired between 1976 and 1986 by a large, private firm were examined. Using a comprehensive model including year of hire, potential experience, education degree, college major, firm tenure, performance, and job title, men were found to have 5.8% higher current salaries. Among college graduates, men ~alized a 2.9% current salary advantage. Further analyses suggested that the bulk of the current salary disadvantage of women could be attributed to a one-time salary shortfall incurred at the time of hire. Although among college graduates, for example, differences in college major explained much of the starting salary advantage for men, an unexplained 4.8% advantage in starting salaries remained. Although women were more likely to leave the firm, correction for this potential source of sample selection bias did not change the pattern of results. Finally, we suggest that the fact that women experience a greater salary disadvantage at entry may stem from the smaller amount of job-relevant information available for applicants relative to current employees. P


Suggested Citation
Gerhart, B. (1988). Gender differences in current and starting salaries: The role of performance, college major, and job title (CAHRS Working Paper #88-06). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.