Modes of Job Entry and Career Outcomes: How Entering a Job via Hire or Promotion Affects Gender Earnings Disparities Open Access

Kronberg, Anne-Kathrin (2015)

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While professionals change employers more frequently since the 1970s, inter-organizational mobility is associated with greater earnings increases for men than for women. As people in organizations make employment and pay decisions, this dissertation examines how organizational practices affect gender disparities among hired and promoted employees. I draw on organizational literature and conduct a longitudinal, mixed-methods case study of careers in a large U.S. employer ("B2G"). I rely on longitudinal personnel records (2005-2013) and 19 in-depth interviews with supervisors to address how organizations set hired and promoted employees' pay, how job entry modes affect gender disparities at entry and over time, and how we can explain these patterns. The analyses yield two important yet surprising findings. At job entry, men earn significantly more than women do. This gap is equally wide among hired and promoted employees, meaning gender differences in starting salaries are independent of job entry mode. Although previous research suggests that opportunities for disparate treatment at job entry are greater among hired than promoted employees, interviews with supervisors suggest that B2G goes to great length to ensure equitable starting salaries, possibly minimizing discretion in the hiring process. After job entry, gender earnings disparities widen among hired employees but remain constant among promoted employees. Disparities do not emerge because of selective turnover or infrequent raises, but because hired women receive smaller pay increases than hired men do. In contrast, promoted men and women receive the same increases. Performance evaluations only partially account for widening gender disparities among hired employees. As interviews revealed greater supervisory discretion over post-entry pay increases, widening gender gaps might result from organizational processes. These results highlight the importance of examining mobility outcomes beyond the point of job entry. This dissertation lays the foundation for an organizational perspective on gender disparities in mobility outcomes. To understand why and when inter- and intra-organizational job mobility translates into gender earnings gaps, we have to consider how organizations distribute rewards. Hence, above individual differences, organizational practice may determine how entering a job via hire or promotion affects men and women.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction. 1

Chapter 2. Theoretical framework. 13

Chapter 3. Methodology. 27

Chapter 4. Embedded uncertainty: Setting hired and promoted employees' pay. 60

Chapter 5. Modes of job entry and gender earnings disparities. 111

Chapter 6. Why do gender disparities widen among hired employees?. 168

Chapter 7. Conclusion. 212

Chapter 8. References. 233

Chapter 9. Appendix. 244

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