Time out of work: career costs for men and women US managers

Joy Schneer (Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA)
Frieda Reitman (Pace University, Pleasantville, New York, USA)

Equal Opportunities International

ISSN: 0261-0159

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This study examines the impact of employment gaps on career success for men and women managers. Women have had concerns about their ability to achieve career success in managerial careers that had required uninterrupted commitment.


The study analyzes mail survey data collected in early post‐MBA career from men and women MBAs. Two cohorts of alumni were sent surveys containing questions on career and demographic factors. Career success was assessed using an objective measure (yearly income) and a subjective measure (career satisfaction).


MBAs with employment gaps earned less than those continuously employed for both the early and recent cohorts. This income penalty appears to be worse for men. Career satisfaction is not impacted by an employment gap for the recent cohort.

Research limitations/implications

Since the sample is geographically limited, the findings may not apply to other regions of the US or other countries.

Practical implications

There is still a bias against managers with discontinuous work histories. While the managers themselves have accepted alternate career patterns, employers have not. The nature of career paths is changing and organizations need to accept this.


The study contributes to the career literature by providing analyses of two data sets from different decades with the same controlled educational background. It seems that women and men can achieve a satisfying managerial career even with time out of work although there are still some income penalties.



Schneer, J. and Reitman, F. (2006), "Time out of work: career costs for men and women US managers", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 285-298. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610706267

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.