Findings by the University of Bath show that whilst men overestimate their earnings, women underestimate their earning potential.
The study, which has been published in the Journal of Economic Behavior And Organisation, is based on data from the British Household Panel Survey.
The results show that typically women have lower expectations for their pay, and therefore have little determination to push for higher wages or a promotion. On the other hand, when men are unhappy with their role or pay, they are more likely than women to change jobs or request a pay rise.
University of Bath’s senior lecturer in business economics, Dr Chris Dawson, commented on the findings:
‘If low female expectations in terms of pay is fueled by a pessimistic outlook, then even without discrimination and progression-related issues, women will continue to underestimate themselves and continue to inadvertently accept pay inequality.
It has serious implications for policy that is trying to address the gender pay gap and suggests more needs to be done to actively advance women at work, without relying on them to self-select for promotion and senior opportunities.
‘The takeaway message of this research is not about putting the responsibility on women, but recognising that without policy measures to address this, we run the risk of never closing the gender pay gap.’
A month ago, a parliamentary committee said Britain will fail to close the pay gap within a generation, unless there are changes to flexible working, women over 40 heading back to work, and paternal leave changes.
In April 2017, large companies will be required to publish information on their male and female salaries, according to new gender-gap regulations.