Who is holding the glass ceiling in place?

Topic: CompensationOrganizational Justice, Motivation, Rewards
Publication: Journal of Human ResourcesArticle: Who is holding the glass
ceiling in place?
Author: N. Fortin
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

Many 21st century women still earn less than their male counterparts.  However, this injustice may not be due fully to chauvinists and stereotypes. In her article, The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People , Nicole Fortin investigates influences that women themselves exhibit which may contribute to their smaller paychecks.  As women more often choose to volunteer with organizations that are altruistic in nature, and tend to place more importance on workplace success rather than rolling in the dough, it is easy to follow Fortin’s argument that such noncognitive factors inevitably influence the gender wage gap.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 and the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988/94, Fortin explores the possible impacts on the gender pay gap by examining four noncognitive functions:

·     The importance of money and work

·     The importance of people and family

·     Self-esteem

·     Locus of control (the extent to which a person feels they- rather than their environment        have control over their own success).

In addition to human capital and cognitive factors, Fortin argues that these noncognitive qualities significantly influence the discrepancy in wages among men and women.

Fortin finds that lower locus of control and higher importance of people and family tend to widen the gender wage gap, while higher self-esteem and importance of money and work tend to lead to more equitable wages for workers in their early thirties.  Although the research shows that the differences due to these noncognitive factors are largely insignificant over time, the importance of work and money should not be overlooked, as it plays the largest role of the four noncognitive factors.

Fortin, N. (2008, Fall2008). The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States. Journal of Human Resources, 43(4), 884-918. Retrieved March 14, 2009, from Advanced Placement Source database.