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Salary Negotiations and Gender in Engineering Education

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Grace Panther Oregon State University

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Grace Panther is a post doctoral fellow conducting research in engineering education. She has experience conducting workshops at engineering education conferences and has been a guest editor for a special issue of European Journal of Engineering Education on inclusive learning environments. Her research areas include spatial visualization, material development, faculty discourses on gender, and defining knowledge domains of students and practicing engineers.

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Kacey Beddoes University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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Kacey Beddoes received her Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech, along with graduate certificates in Women’s and Gender Studies and Engineering Education. Dr. Beddoes serves as Deputy Editor of the journal Engineering Studies. Further information can be found on her website:

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Cheryl Llewellyn University of Massachusetts Lowell

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A gendered wage gap exists in academia whereby men are consistently paid more than women, even when factors such as productivity are controlled for. One popular explanation for the wage gap is that women are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries. Negotiating one’s salary is critical not only for starting salary, but also for lifetime earnings, as future raises and promotions are based on initial salary. Moreover, in addition to salary, faculty members must decide if and how to negotiate for a wide range of items, including start-up funds, lab space and equipment, relocation expenses, and course reduction. While we know the wage gap exists, and that women faculty members often have less lab space (as one example), we know very little about how negotiation processes actually play out and what factors affect the outcomes.

In order to begin to explore those processes and factors, this paper addresses the following research questions:

1. Are women faculty members less likely to negotiate than men? 2. Do gender differences exist in the outcomes of negotiations? 3. Can any institutional factors be identified that have an effect on negotiations?

Data were collected via an online survey with both close-ended and open-ended questions. The survey was distributed to tenured and tenure-track faculty members in five disciplines, with the vast majority of responses coming from engineering professors. In total, over 300 responses were received. The findings presented in this paper focus on the quantitative items with results of ten different Chi-square analyses conducted using SPSS presented.

We found that women were as likely as men to negotiate their salaries, but men were more likely to receive a greater increase in salary from negotiating, and that men who negotiated with men were more likely to receive a greater salary increase than women who negotiated with women. Other institutional factors were largely not significant in decisions and outcomes related to negotiations. These findings add new insights into the persistent wage gap in academia and raise critical questions about the dominant discourses that are used to explain and intervene in the wage gap. Analysis of our dataset is on-going, with current efforts focused on examining tensions and paradoxes that exist in the data. We will also begin collecting qualitative data via storytelling circles in 2018.

Panther, G., & Beddoes, K., & Llewellyn, C. (2018, June), Salary Negotiations and Gender in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30948

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