Photo: tiearescott via flickr
Are you a female? Is your chief executive male? Are you looking for a pay rise? If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of these questions, then start praying somebody fills your boss’ office with pink helium balloons (and not because he has finally decided to come out).New academic research apparently shows that a male boss’s propensity to hike the salaries of his female employees rises after he celebrates the birth of a daughter. And it’s not just a ’round of whiskies for the men and a £100 bonus for the women’ type toast. No. The research finds male bosses who have daughters become more sympathetic and understanding to women’s issues.
Even more than that, the research finds that a male chief executive is likely to increase the salaries of female staff by 1.4 per cent following the birth of a daughter, thus shrinking the pay differential with male staff by an average 0.8 per cent. The birth of a son, by contrast, has no discernible impact on salaries.
If the daughter is also the CEO’s first child, then crack open the pink Champagne, as this would trigger a pay rise for female staff that would shrink the pay differential with male employees by approximately 2.8 per cent. Sadly the cause for celebration over a daughter who is also a second child is not so great, perhaps occasioning a bottle of Asti Spumante rather than proper fizz, as the differential does not shrink by quite so much.
And after two daughters, there is apparently little incentive for male bosses to continue to raise wages of female employees, which means the birth of a third daughter creates reverse discrimination (start bursting those balloons now!)
As David Gaddis Ross, Michael Dahl and Cristian Dezso, professors at Columbia Business School, Denmark’s Aalborg University and the University of Maryland, respectively, who conducted the research, say: this makes perfect sense.
‘What wouldn’t make sense is if the first eight daughters had no effect, and then suddenly a chief executive has his ninth daughter and starts putting policies in place at his work that close the gender wage gap,’ they say. ‘Either something happens from having a female child that makes a male chief executive more attuned to these issues or it doesn’t. It is not an effect that we would expect to keep going up and up.’
Having considered more than 6,300 businesses in Denmark, the academics found the birth of a daughter (whether first, second, third or fourth child) to a male boss usually leads to an average 1.3 per cent increase in women’s salaries and an average 0.8 per cent rise in men’s pay – reducing the wage gap by approximately 0.5 per cent.
But there’s always a catch. Sadly, the impact is greater where the male chief executive has a more direct role in his staff’s wage policies, which means it is more likely to be felt in companies that employ between 10 and 50 employees. So if you’re an employee in a FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 company and your male boss has a daughter, don’t bother contributing to the gift collection, because sadly she’s not contributing to you!
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