Vindication at last

On 2 September 2018 the British Psychological Society published the following blog:

Study of 8000 workers finds that gender differences in “achievement motivation” may explain part of the gender pay gap

The study was carried out by Leonora Risse of RMIT using one year’s data from an Australian household survey of about 8,000 people employed full- or part-time. These workers provided information about their jobs, pay and social background, as well as completing a number of personality measures.  The researchers found the usual gender gap suggesting women earned AUS $26 dollars an hour, on average, compared with $32.50 an hour for men – a difference of $6.50 or nearly 20 per cent.

The study then tried to establish if the Big 5 personality traits of Agreeableness and Conscientious would explain the difference.  It found the women were both more agreeable and more conscientious.  The former would increase the gender pay gap, but the latter would decrease it.  Indeed the net effect explained a difference 9 cents.

Risse and her team then looked at achievement motivation which they defined as two sub-traits: fear of failure and hope for success.  Females scored higher in the first, men higher in the second and the net effect was a difference of 22 cents.

Whenever I see “achievement motivation” I think of the Politician component of the 7MTF/Humm temperament model.  Five years ago I argued that Sheryl Sandberg’s gender equality vision (50% of CEOs being female and 50% of men replacing house wives) is unachievable due to a higher level of Politician component being more common in men.  This naturally provoked feminist outrage.  I estimated that 33% of CEOs could be female.

Note gender personality differences explain only a small amount of the gender pay gap, social forces explain much more.  However I do believe the study by Risse provides some vindication of my hypothesis.

This blog was first published on LinkIn.



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