Monday, January 21, 2013

Work for a Male CEO?

Keep an eye on your paycheck when he starts having kids.

At a recent session at the American Economic Association, some members presented a paper indicating that the gender of a male CEO’s children is linked to the salary of his own employees.

Haven gotten your attention, let me give you the data. When a male CEO has a baby, his worker’s salaries drop an average of .2% per year. If it’s a boy, the drop is .4%. But if the first child is a daughter, employee wages actually go up and, surprisingly, female employees get a larger boost, with their salary tending to grow by 1.1%, compared with a .6% gain for male employees.

It gets more serendipical. In general, female workers do better when a male CEO has children, regardless of the child’s gender or birth order. When a male executive has a son, female employees' salaries shrink .2%, but their male counterparts drop .5%. When a son is a first born to a male CEO, female salaries actually go up .8%.

Why? The paper postulates a few explanations: becoming a father causes a male CEO to look favorably toward women generally (there is previous research to show that a man’s esteem for his wife rises after childbirth, and there may be some type of halo effect for female subordinates) or perhaps it's just that men start thinking more about other people’s well being after they have a daughter. Whatever the linkage, the research is based on a study of CEOs in Denmark, so there may be some old-world, Hamlet stuff playing out here, as well. But it wouldn't hurt to take extra care with that baby shower gift, just to mitigate any possible paycheck damage.

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