All you professional ladies out there with a male CEO better hope his first child is a girl. And that’s not a reverse throwback to a royal birth order of succession. But rather a very real foreshadowing into your future paycheck.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “The gender of a male CEO’s children is significantly linked to the salary of his employees,” according to some research by economics and business professors. While the conclusions aren’t described as “absolute,” some curious links have caught the attention of Aalborg University economics professor Michael Dahl, University of Maryland Smith School of Business professor Cristian Dezso and Columbia Business School professor David Gaddis Ross.
Overall, when a male CEO has a baby, salaries reportedly shrink for employees by 0.2 percent a year — that’s around $100 a year. But when that CEO welcomes a daughter, especially as his first child, something funny happens with the numbers. Employee wages get a noticeable hike, and lady employees seem to see the majority of it. Female employee wages grow by 1.1 percent as opposed to the 0.6 percent rise for male workers. But wait, there’s more:
In general, female workers benefit more when a male CEO has kids, regardless of the child’s gender or birth order. When a male executive has a son, female employees’ salaries shrink 0.2%, compared with a 0.5% drop for male workers. And when the son is the executive’s first child, female employees’ salaries actually go up 0.8%.
The Journal posits a few reasons as to why male CEOs with a baby girl at home suddenly start getting generous with those dollar signs, at least to women. And I have to say, they’re all pretty depressing:
The seemingly beneficial treatment of female workers could be because becoming a father alters a male executive’s view, particularly toward women, the paper suggests. Previous research shows men’s esteem for their wives often rises when they become mothers and this shift may nudge male executives to also view their female employees as more competent, the authors note. Other studies have also shown that men sometimes care more about other people’s well-being after having a daughter.
Obviously, a lot of problematic perceptions happening here. “Competent” women have babies. And by the way, the wife becomes more “esteem[ed]” after reproducing, which would be more of a personal issue than a political one, except that that shift impacts how said CEOs care about the “well-being” of others — including other women. And we’re the ones having articles written about how our menstrual cycles impact how we vote in this country?
So have fun twiddling your thumbs over your big boss’s baby announcement.