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California State University, Long Beach
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Susanne Braun

August 1995

Gender Differences in Self-Pay Expectations


    This study investigated how (a) women may have lower pay expectations than men, both at career entry and career peak, (b) women may choose “other women” as their comparison group, and (c) men may choose others in their profession (male/female) as their comparison group.

Thirty-one men and 69 women from a professional service industry responded to the Collective Self-Esteem Scale and a participant questionnaire, which determined self-pay expectations at career entry and peak, and determined the comparison group that each participant used.
    As predicted, women expected less pay than men at career entry and peak.  Men consistently selected others in their profession (male/female) as their comparison group.  Women chose two reference groups when developing pay expectations: they compared themselves to other women and others in their profession (male/female).