Gender differences in wage expectations

PLoS One. 2021 Jun 2;16(6):e0250892. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250892. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Using an own survey on wage expectations among students at two Swiss institutions of higher education, we examine the wage expectations of our respondents along two main lines. First, we investigate the rationality of wage expectations by comparing average expected wages from our sample with those of similar graduates; further, we examine how our respondents revise their expectations when provided information about actual wages. Second, using causal mediation analysis, we test whether the consideration of a rich set of personal and professional controls, inclusive of preferences on family formation and number of children in addition to professional preferences, accounts for the difference in wage expectations across genders. Results suggest that both males and females overestimate their wages compared to actual ones and that males respond in an overconfident manner to information about realized wages. Personal mediators alone cannot explain the indirect effect of gender on wage expectations; however, when combined with professional mediators, this results in a quantitatively large reduction in the unexplained effect of gender on wage expectations. Nonetheless, a non-negligible and statistically significant direct (or unexplained) effect of gender on wage expectations remains in several, but not all specifications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment / standards*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / trends*
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult

Grant support

G.V. Project Grant: P400PS_180732 Swiss National Science Foundation http://www.snf.ch/en/Pages/default.aspx The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.