Stockbrokers are some of the highest paid sales workers in the country. But they also have one of the largest gender pay gaps in sales jobs—data from the mid ‘90s show that women made 20 percent less than men.
But stockbrokers are usually paid through commissions—which should reduce gender inequality, as income would be based solely on ability. Unless women aren’t as good at the job, or clients simply made fewer purchases from women brokers.
Or can management still play a role in women making less?
University of Pennsylvania sociologist Janice Fadding Madden reviewed info from two major brokerage houses available via class action lawsuits. The data included stockbrokers’ records of asset values and trades from 1994 through ‘96.
Madden found that there were no sales differences by gender for accounts with prior sales histories. But the referrals that women got from management had lower asset values and historic commissions. So the managers effectively gave them lower-paying accounts. The research is in the journal Gender and Society. [Janice Fadding Madden, "Performance-Support Bias and the Gender Pay Gap among Stockbrokers"]
The study shows that manager bias can affect whether women make as much as men—even when the manager isn’t the one paying.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]