September 2012

IZA DP No. 6873: Promotion and Wages in Mid-Career: Gender, Unionism, and Sector

revised version published as 'The Role of Gender in Promotion and Pay over a Career' in: Journal of Human Capital, 2014, 8 (3), 280-317

This paper considers the role of gender in the promotion process and the impact of promotion on wages and wage growth, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79). Its focus is upon mid-career promotion and wages, thereby complementing extant studies of the NLSY79 that relate to differences between men and women at an earlier stage in their careers. The paper is further differentiated from these studies and the wider promotions literature in considering the role of unionism and the public sector. It is reported that mid-career females are more likely than males to be promoted in the private sector (and no less likely in the public sector); that wages are increasing in promotion, and the effect is generally higher for females; and that female wage growth from contemporaneous promotion is almost as high as that for males in the private sector and much higher in the public sector. These rather positive results for females represent in most cases an improvement over the early-career findings but in mid-career the mediating influence of unionism is more negative, and not just for females.