Study Finds Women's Wage Gap Starts Early

We all know that women wind up earning less than male peers. Inequality apologists like to attribute this to our own choices: We take time off for babies and childcare; we choose less lucrative positions; we bring this darn wage gap upon ourselves.

But new evidence contradicts that characterization. Long before maternity leaves and soccer-carpooling duties, women are already earning less than men. By the age of 27, men in business earn an average of 22 percent more than women with equivalent jobs and qualifications, new research shows.

According to the Financial Times, the main reason for the differential is fewer women being promoted to senior management positions in their 20s. At age 27, nearly a quarter of men with master's level business degrees found themselves in senior management, while just 17 percent of women did.

By their early 30s, 19 percent of women held senior management positions — compared to 41 percent of men.

The data comes from more than 6,000 managers surveyed by the Financial Times, most of whom lived and worked in Europe. The Times notes that there was a disproportionate number of French respondents.

Previous research has found similarly sad statistics on American women in business, however.

Though the wage gap between men and women graduating from top MBA programs had all but dissipated by the early oughts, a 2012 survey from Bloomberg Businessweek found the average female MBA grad now earns 93 cents for every dollar dude classmates earn. For graduates of certain programs, the difference was even more stark: Female MBA holders from the University of Pennsylvania earned 14 percent less than male counterparts; female graduates of Stanford Graduate School of Business earned 21 percent less.

And 2010 research on U.S. men and women in business found that men tended to both start at higher salaries and rise faster over time. The gap persisted even after controlling for factors like having children or "differing aspiration levels."

And a very happy Monday to you, as well.

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