Extant research studies document gender differences in career outcomes for middle and advanced career stages. The purpose of this study is to examine potential gender differences in early‐career success with a particular focus on whether educational intervention might mediate any potential differences.
Survey data for recent business college alumni were analyzed using descriptive techniques, linear regression and logistic modeling; the response rate was 25 percent and all data were self‐reported. Both objective and subjective measures were used to assess outcomes. A priori, given similar educational training and expectations for managerial careers, we should expect to find similar early‐career progress regardless of gender.
Differences are apparent out of the starting gate for women in early‐career stages compared with their male counterparts, by both objective and subjective measures. Results also suggest an opportunity to improve outcomes through educational interventions. Limitations of the findings include the use of self‐reported data and a modest response rate.
The findings of this study highlight the importance that integrated leadership development programs may play in supporting women's early‐career success and the need to advise young women to negotiate more assertively for salary and leadership opportunity at the immediate start of their careers. For educational institutions, the findings suggest that concerted focus on support for women students' development may enhance their early‐career outcomes.
By focusing on early‐career outcomes, the paper seeks to contribute to the gender and careers literature by highlighting results that may set up the patterns seen among women in mid‐career and senior level managerial careers. In addition, the paper demonstrates the educational interventions may be of value in reducing the impact of stereotype threat on women's career outcomes.
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