The gender gap in top corporate jobs in China: Evidence from an establishment-manager matched survey

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3 Scopus citations


PurposeThis study aims to examine the gender pay gap in organizational leadership positions in China. The author seeks to analyse how much of the gap is explained by differences in individual characteristics and how much is explained by firm characteristics. Design/methodology/approachThis study estimates pay functions based on a unique data set from a survey of private firms and top managers in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China. FindingsFemale managers receive much lower pay than male managers in China. A larger portion of the gender earnings gap can be attributed to firm-level characteristics than individual characteristics. Female managers tend to have fewer firm-level characteristics that are associated with higher pay, and when they do, they tend to receive a smaller pay premium for those characteristics. This is especially the case for the firm size variable where female managers are less likely to be employed in higher paying large firms, and when they are, they receive a smaller firm-size premium. Research limitations/implicationsThis study uses a sample of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. As such, the gender pay gap in larger firms or firms in large cities (e.g. Beijing or Shanghai) may not be represented by the findings of this study. Practical implicationsThis study offers insights on how women executives are paid after they cross the “glass ceiling” and enter the managerial ranks in China. Female executives should be aware of the effects of firm characteristics on gender differences in compensation. Originality/valueThis study adds to the limited empirical literature on the gender pay gap among top executives using a matched establishment-manager data set in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-79
Number of pages20
JournalEvidence-based HRM
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 26 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • China
  • Female executive pay
  • Firm characteristics
  • Gender
  • Gender gap
  • Individual attributes
  • Pay
  • Pay differentials


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