On Different Tracks? Gender, Professional Strategies, and Early Career Wage Gaps
AbstractA longstanding notion in labor market theory is that women accommodate family responsibilities in their occupational and job choices. Utilizing a survey of newly graduated highly educated men and women in five occupations in Sweden (n≈2400), the article explores whether men and women differ in their professional strategies and if such differences produce early career wage gaps. Findings based on OLS regressions show that women express dual commitment to work and family; compared with men, they value ‘family-friendly’ work-conditions higher but do not value wages and career lower. Parenthood is not related to lower levels of career focus, but neutralizes occupational differences in family focus for women. Despite the select sample, women have lower wages than men, but the wage gap is not explained by different prioritization of family/career. The findings suggest that assumptions about gendered skill investments must be empirically scrutinized and theories further developed.
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