College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

11-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

College/Department Conferring Degree

Psychology

Keywords

wage gaps, negotiation, salary differences

Abstract

This study examined wage gaps in the workforce and discussed explanations for why these gaps exist. Specifically, this study investigated the differences between men and women and Blacks and Whites in the amount of salary requested for a new job. Current worker data from an international job board was examined. Workers were Black or White males or females, who were at least 25 years of age and had at least one full-time job. Only annual salary data was used in analysis. When controlling for education and experience, results supported the hypotheses predicting current salary differences between Whites and Blacks and men and women. Results also supported the race and gender interaction for current salary showing that significant differences were found among White men, White women, Black men and Black women. While controlling for education, work experience and current salary, results did not support the hypotheses predicting gender or race differences in requested salary for a new job both when all cases were examined and when only cases where salary request was greater than current salary were examined. Thus, all examined groups were reporting similar salary requests. The findings from this study continue to support the fact that wage differences still exists for groups in the workforce that go beyond human capital factors. The study did not support that the initial negotiation strategy of salary request for the next job is a contributing factor for these wage differences. This leads to further support of explanations resulting from characteristics of the job being a reason for wage gaps found in the groups examined. Future research should examine other races besides Whites and Blacks and also examine individuals of mixed races as wage gaps have been shown to exist among many groups in the workforce.

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