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  • Writer's picturelindsayannkohler

New Research Finds The ‘Old Boys Club’ At Work Is Real—And Contributing To The Gender Pay Gap

This post originally appeared on Forbes on April 22, 2021.

Ever wonder if the idea of an "old boys club"—the male-only network of social and business connections among the elite—translates to the office? As it turns out, it does. New research out of Harvard suggests that male employees are promoted faster than women while under male managers, yet male and female employees receive equal promotional treatment under female managers.

An easy and quick assumption to make is that men simply outperform women. I'm sure there was a collective eye-roll upon reading that last sentence. But, to rule out that assumption—as well as many other potential reasons for the difference in promotion rates—researchers controlled for common promotional reasons such as effort and performance. They also ruled out factors such as male managers being better able to motivate male employees—hence resulting in higher performance. Yet, even after all the checks and balances were completed, the conclusion was still that the higher promotion rates men enjoy under male managers are not influenced by any differences in effort or performance compared to females.

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