Job-Hopping Toward Equity

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Progress on shrinking the gender pay gap has been glacially slow. Though it has narrowed somewhat over the past 40 years, stark inequities persist. In 1980, women earned 64 cents for every dollar that men earned. By the end of the decade, that amount had increased to 74 cents, but since then, gains have been much more modest.1 As of 2018 (nearly 30 years later), the pay disparity was 81.6 cents on the dollar.2 Movement toward parity has been sluggish in all segments, but it’s slowest of all for people at higher earning levels, including managers and executives. Much of the research on this problem examines internal labor markets — that is, who gets promoted within organizations and how equitably they are compensated when they move up.3 However, the external market is becoming increasingly important in filling senior roles.4 Between 1970 and the early 2000s, the percentage of CEOs brought in from the outside jumped from 15% to 33% of all CEO hires.5 Clearly, we need to study the context of external job moves if we want a deeper understanding of current compensation trends.

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