Occupational sex segregation, private sector training and earnings: The early careers of white women and men

Joyce Marie Henson, Fordham University

Abstract

Two striking and persistent features of the labor market are occupational segregation by sex and the gender wage gap. The majority of studies find that employment in female-dominated jobs adversely affects earnings of women and men. An important previously untested argument related to this link is that female-dominated jobs provide less opportunity for on-the-job training which subsequently limits career advancement.^ This study looks at the occupational sex segregation of the first full-time job to see how this structural feature of the labor market affects career advancement. Using eleven years of National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data (1979-89), the study follows a group of white men and women as they leave full-time schooling and begin their careers. The focus of this study is on the effects of the sex sector of the first full-time job on access to and participation in on-the-job training, and how this affects both initial earnings and subsequent wage growth.^ The study found that being in a female-dominated first full-time job had a significant negative effect both on a woman's participation in on-the-job training and on the duration of that training. A man's access to on-the-job training on the first full-time job was not affected by the sex sector of employment, but rather by his human capital characteristics. Contrary to expectations derived from human capital theory, individual men and women receiving on-the-job training do not suffer an earnings disadvantage while receiving that training. Moreover, it was found that on-the-job training does not act as a mediator between the occupational sex segregation of the first full-time job and initial or subsequent earnings.^ Using more refined measures of work experience, this study confirms a significant relationship between occupational sex segregation and earnings both in the first full-time job and in the 1989 job for women and men. As the percent female in the job increases, earnings decline. The results are consistent with sociological arguments that women's jobs are provided with less on-the-job training and paid lower wages than men's jobs because women's jobs are devalued in society. ^

Subject Area

Sociology|Demography

Recommended Citation

Henson, Joyce Marie, "Occupational sex segregation, private sector training and earnings: The early careers of white women and men" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9416667.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9416667

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