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International Journal of Construction Education and

Research

ISSN: 1557-8771 (Print) 1550-3984 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/uice20

Effects of Family-Related Factors on Female


Project Managers’ Salaries in the Construction
Industry in the United States

David Bilbo, Ben F. Bigelow, Zofia Rybkowski & Amineh Kamranzadeh

To cite this article: David Bilbo, Ben F. Bigelow, Zofia Rybkowski & Amineh Kamranzadeh (2014)
Effects of Family-Related Factors on Female Project Managers’ Salaries in the Construction
Industry in the United States, International Journal of Construction Education and Research, 10:4,
255-267, DOI: 10.1080/15578771.2014.886641

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/15578771.2014.886641

Published online: 31 Jul 2014.

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International Journal of Construction Education and Research, 10:255–267, 2014
Copyright © Associated Schools of Construction
ISSN: 1557-8771 print/1550-3984 online
DOI: 10.1080/15578771.2014.886641

Effects of Family-Related Factors on Female Project


Managers’ Salaries in the Construction Industry in
the United States

DAVID BILBO, DEd, BEN F. BIGELOW, PH.D., ZOFIA


RYBKOWSKI, PH.D., and AMINEH KAMRANZADEH, MSCM
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

This study explores predictors of female project managers’ salary in the construction
industry and analyzes the relationship between salaries and specific variables.
Although prior research indicates a relationship does exist between certain variables
and women’s salaries that research does not focus on the construction industry. This
research sought to identify correlations between experience, age, marital status, moth-
erhood, having children at home, and the number of children at home, and female
project manager’s salaries in the construction industry. To our knowledge, this study
represents the only research of its kind specific to women project managers in the U.S.
construction industry. Utilizing a snowball sampling method, 206 survey responses
were collected and analyzed through comprehensive descriptive and statistical anal-
yses. A regression model was constructed to determine the predictive power of the
variables studied. Fifty percent of the variability in female project manager’s salary
can be accounted for by the model produced. The study’s sample showed that, being
married and having children at home are negatively correlated with female project
managers’ salaries. As would be expected, age and experience are also correlated and
the correlation is strongly positive.

Keywords project managers, women in construction, women’s salaries

Introduction
For many years the construction industry has been dominated by men and is reputedly
a difficult environment for women. This image has persisted, despite efforts to reduce
discrimination in various industries (Shah, 2004). There is a desire for greater female par-
ticipation in the construction industry, but participation does not necessarily lead to salary
equity. The discussion regarding inequality between men and women relating to salaries is
not new (Budig & England, 2001; Waldfogel, 1997). Surprisingly however, in the construc-
tion industry, a substantial salary gap does not exist. In fact, the construction industry is one
of only two industries where women earn more than 90 percent of their male counterparts’
mean weekly salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010) reports that; women in con-
struction made 92.2% of men’s weekly salaries. Further Bilbo and White (1999) reported
that women graduates of established construction education programs earn equivalent jobs
and competitive entry-level salaries, even earning slightly more than their male counter-
parts from 1990 to 1995. As a result this study is not a comparison of male and female
salaries, as that subject has been well documented. Rather this study is instead focused on
Address correspondence to Ben F. Bigelow, Texas A&M University, 3137 TAMU, College
Station, TX 77843, USA. E-mail: bbigelow@arch.tamu.edu

255
256 D. Bilbo et al.

the impact of certain family-related variables on women project manager’s salaries in the
construction industry.
The relatively small percentage of participation by women in the construction industry
is the core problem of this research. According the National Association of Women in
Construction (2010), only 9% of the total construction workforce is female, and only about
13% work in management. Given the very small wage disparity between men and women
in the construction industry in the United States (BLS, 2010; Bilbo & White, 1999) it seems
unlikely that this disparity is a result of salaries. Menches and Abraham (2007) identified
the difficult work of construction and its relation to a family balancing act, and primary
childcare pressures as one of the top five barriers to women entering and remaining in the
construction industry. As a result the purpose of this research was to evaluate the wage
penalty for mothers in construction and other family-related variables that may be related
to women’s salaries in the construction industry.
In the United States, being a mother has been found to be accompanied by a wage
penalty across all industries (Budig & England, 2001; Waldfogel, 1997), and in addition
to being a mother, the number of young children in a home has been found to nega-
tively impact women’s salaries, while having no effect on men’s earnings (Hundley, 2001).
Because the earning gap between men and women is the second smallest of any industry
in construction (BLS, 2010), and a wage penalty for mothers in all industries in the U.S.
has been reported (Budig & England, 2001), this study sought to learn if the wage penalty
for motherhood was evident among female project managers in the construction industry
in the United States. Further if that wage penalty existed, to identify which family-related
variables were the strongest predictors of female project manager’s salaries in the con-
struction industry. The variables evaluated by this study included: experience, age, marital
status, motherhood, having children at home, and the number of children at home.
The research question(s) for this study were:

• Is construction experience related to the salaries of female project managers in the


construction industry in the United States?
• Is age related to the salaries of female project managers in the construction industry
in the United States?
• Is marital status related to the salaries of female project managers in the construction
industry in the United States?
• Is motherhood related to the salaries of female project managers in the construction
industry in the United States?
• Is having children at home related to the salaries of female project managers in the
construction industry in the United States?
• Is the number of children at home related to the salaries of female project managers
in the construction industry in the United States?

With no prior research in the U.S. construction industry on these variables, this study
is significant because it fills that gap in the body of knowledge on the subject of women
in construction. This salary information is also important to the subject of women in con-
struction because, while a substantial salary gap between men and women does not exist,
the total percentage of women in the construction workforce is only fraction of their partic-
ipation in all industries (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). So while a small male/female
salary gap in the construction industry should attract more women, if a wage penalty for
motherhood exists it represents another barrier to women entering and remaining in the
construction industry.
Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 257

Review of Literature
The review of literature for this study first considered the effect of family-related variables
on women in any industry in the United States. While some research has been performed
comparing the wage penalty for mothers in countries such as Britain and Germany (Gangle
& Ziefle, 2009), those studies are not considered here because this study was delimited to
the salaries of female construction industry project managers in the United States. The
seminal research on this topic was performed by Budig and England (2001), many of the
results of which are cited here. This review concludes by considering the literature specific
to the construction industry.
A wage penalty for mothers has great significance because as Budig and England
(2001) put it: “Most women are mothers” and mothers are responsible for the majority of
child rearing responsibilities, which could explain why mothers with younger children are
less likely to participate in the labor force (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). Therefore,
“any price of being a mother that is not experienced by fathers will contribute to gen-
der inequality.” (Budig & England, 2001, p. 205). Across all industries the wage penalty
for mothers was documented at seven percent per child by Budig and England (2001).
Another study reported that if women have no young child at home, their earnings increase
by 106 percent (Hundley, 2001). Prior to these studies the wage penalty for mothers was
reported at 6% for one child and 15% percent for two or more children (Waldfogel, 1997).
This wage penalty for motherhood across all industries can be reduced. Budig and
England (2001) reported three factors that affect this wage penalty. First, when mothers
have mother-friendly jobs, with characteristics such as “flexible hours, on-site daycare,
and few demands for traveling or weekend work” (p. 207), the wage disparity is reduced.
Second, experience explains a large part of the wage penalty for women, and as noted by
Budig and England (2001, p. 219), “one-third of the motherhood penalty is explained by
years of past job experience including whether past work was part-time or not.” Third, the
wage penalty is reduced if there is a husband or father in the home providing support, “At
least some part of the penalty arises because the ratio of time and energy mothers allocate
to children versus jobs is affected by whether they have a source of financial support other
than their own earnings” (Budig & England, 2001, p. 218). These findings inform this
study, however they are aggregated to women in any profession in the United States and
are not specific to the construction industry.
A wage penalty for mothers has not been documented specifically in the construction
industry, but the underrepresentation of women in the construction industry is well sup-
ported. This underrepresentation cannot be attributed solely to a potential wage penalty
for mothers, or any one barrier for that matter. Menches and Abraham (2007) reported
five specific barriers to women entering and remaining in the construction industry, includ-
ing: Slow career progression, difficult work–family balancing act, attitude barriers from
male dominance, job hopping, and an overtly masculine culture. The question of a wage
penalty for mothers, and the family-related variables that may be related to a woman’s
salary in the construction industry link directly to the second barrier reported by Menches
and Abraham (2007), that of a difficult work–family balance and primary childcare pres-
sures. Other research supports that conclusion stating: “this type of work environment (the
construction industry) in rarely suited to the female who must bear the responsibility for
pregnancy and birthing” (Bilbo & White, 1999, p.8).
These family-related challenges for women in the construction industry are supported
and represent a reality that women entering and currently working in the construction
industry should consider. A woman’s decision to marry and start a family will likely affect
258 D. Bilbo et al.

her employment (Bilbo & White, 1999), and thus her salary. While a body of research
exists regarding women’s salaries in general, without regard to profession, and the factors
that may influence them. In the construction industry, specific variables relating to marriage
and family and their effect on women’s salaries have not been considered. This study pro-
vides that data, collecting and analyzing salary information from female project managers
in the construction industry in the United States.

Methodology
The purpose of this study was to determine if family-related variables affect women’s
salaries in construction, and if the wage gap reported generally in the United States
(Budig & England, 2001) was present in the construction industry. This section provides a
description of the research approach, population & sample, delimitations, data collection
& analysis, and limitations of the study.
This study represents a non-experimental design that utilized an associational research
approach. The salaries of female project managers in the construction industry were
evaluated as a group for associations with: construction experience, age, marital status,
motherhood, having children at home, and the number of children at home. The researchers
hypothesized that these variables would negatively relate to female project manager’s
salaries in the United States.
The decision to collect data from female project managers was based on a survey
performed prior to this study. That survey found that among the firms listed in the Texas
A&M 2011 Directory of Construction Firms in Texas. This survey was sent to 268 con-
struction firms and elicited a 53% response rate (141 firms). These 141 companies reported
204 female managers, 101 of whom (50%) held the position of Project manager, 21% of
women were office managers and the remaining 29% were split between eight other titles.
With the number of women holding project manager positions equal to all other man-
agement positions combined, women in the construction industry holding the position of
project manager were specified as the selected sample. The survey of positions held by
women in the construction industry in the State of Texas was used to guide this study.
Although that survey only included firms in Texas, data collection evaluating family-related
factors on women’s salaries were not limited to Texas. Female project managers anywhere
in the United States were requested to participate.
Obtaining data on sensitive subjects such as salaries and family information presents
significant challenges in data collection. Many companies consider compensation and
demographic information confidential and will not share it, and in many cases have poli-
cies in place to prevent their employee’s from sharing it. Given the sensitive nature of
the data collected, confidentiality was a paramount concern, specifically fear of reprisal
from employers was taken very seriously as it could affect the willingness of participants
and their honesty in responding to such sensitive questions. To overcome these challenges
and obtain an adequate sample size, a snowball sampling technique was used. A snowball
sampling technique was selected because it provided a means for women to participate
completely anonymously. A snowball sample is very effective in keeping participant iden-
tities confidential because it does not require contact with the companies employing the
participants, and because the survey was administered online it did not require direct
contact between the researchers and the subjects.
Obviously no personally identifiable information was collected in the survey; however,
to further protect the confidentiality of participants and their employers, no questions were
asked regarding the location, size, retention, or gender demographics of the companies
Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 259

where participants were employed, nor were questions asked regarding the specific projects
where the women worked. These types of questions were all avoided to eliminate any
possibility of tracing participation back to any individual. The protections were part of the
Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from Texas A&M University, obtained for this
study.
The sample was delimited to female employees holding a project manager position
in construction companies in the United States of America. Although a comparison with
men’s salaries as they relate to family-related variables is desirable, the researchers delim-
ited this study to women, to learn if the small wage disparity between men and women in
construction (BLS, 2010) also led to a reduced wage penalty for mothers who are project
managers in the construction industry in the United States.
The sample began by sending private requests to a group of professional women in
construction who were asked to complete the survey and then to identify other women who
met the study delimitations, and would be willing to participate. Requests to participate in
the survey were sent via e-mail, which included a link to the web-based survey. A web-
based survey was selected for the ease of the respondents and to reduce the time required
for data collection. The sampling technique proved effective and although no incentives for
participation were offered, the actual sample consisted of 206 survey responses. Because
the sampling technique requested that participants forward the survey link to other women
independent of the researcher, a count of those requests cannot accurately be completed
and thus the response rate is not known.
Other limitations on this study include the research approach, the selected sample and
the sampling technique. As discussed this research utilized a non-experimental approach,
it collected and compared ex-post-facto data from attribute variables. This limitation is
important to note because a non-experimental approach does not provide evidence that
the independent variable is the cause of differences or changes in the dependent variable
(Gilner, Morgan, & Leech, 2009), as such only relationships and/or correlations should be
reported.
The selected sample for this study included female project managers in the construc-
tion industry in the United States. The researchers delimited the sample to this group
for two reasons, first because project manager was the title most frequently held by
women employed by the construction companies surveyed prior to the beginning of this
study. Project managers were also selected to ensure the comparisons made were fair and
accurate. The researchers determined that a comparison of project managers and office
managers would not be accurate as the skill set and training required for each is very dif-
ferent. The selection of only project managers for this study also limits the study findings,
because data was only collected from female project managers, the findings of this study
cannot be generalized to the broader population of women in construction, only to female
project managers.
While the snowball sampling technique was effective in maintaining participant con-
fidentiality and to elicit a robust sample, it limits the study because it is a non-probability
sampling technique. The use of a snowball sample can lead to data all coming from
participants who are similar, “birds of a feather flock together.” This limitation is of
important note because it potentially eliminates representativeness in the sample. The
researchers point out however that the size of the sample (n = 206) and the normal distri-
bution of the data indicate that the limitation imposed by the snowball sample, a loss of
representativeness, is likely minimal.
Considering the normal distribution of the data, the parametric tests of linear regres-
sion, t-tests, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were performed. First t-tests and regression
260 D. Bilbo et al.

were used to test for relationships between the variables, and the two-way ANOVA was
used to test for the presence of an interaction between categorical variables. Finally, simul-
taneous multiple regression was used to find the combination of variables that had the
strongest effect on the dependent variable. This analysis provides a model in its last step
that only includes the strongest predictive variables, known as the “best fit model.”

Findings
The objectives of this study were to investigate predictors of female project managers’
salary in the construction industry, to analyze their impact on women’s salaries, and to learn
if a wage penalty for mothers who are project managers in the construction industry exists.
Descriptive and statistical analyses are reported, followed by the authors’ conclusions.
The collected data showed that the respondents’ annual salary ranged from $35,100 to
$115,000. The largest portion (21%) of female project managers working in the construc-
tion industry earn an annual salary of between $65,000 and $75,000. After this range, the
percentage of women decreases as annual salary increases. Figure 1 shows the complete
salary distribution. The distribution suggests that the female population in construction
does not include many senior-level project managers with salaries higher than $85,000.
The percentage of female project managers that earn more than $95,000 per year is less
than 12%.
Within this sample, the small proportion of female project managers earning more
than $95,000 per year may be linked to level of experience. Figure 2 shows the years of
experience for the study sample. Over 60% of female project managers have less than
10 years of construction experience. The number of female project managers steadily
decreases as years of experience increase. Women with more than 30 years of experience
make up less than 6% of female project managers. Based on these levels of experience, the
female population in construction does not include many senior-level project managers,
which indicates many women leave the construction industry or project management type
careers there.
Figure 3 shows the age distribution of the sample. The largest portion of female project
managers is between the ages of 25 and 35. The number of female project managers drops
at the 35 to 40 age range, believed to be due to women’s decision to leave work to attend
to the demands of motherhood. Only 6% of female project managers are above 55 years

25%
Percentage of respondents

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%

Annual Salary group (in US$)

Figure 1. Percentage of female project managers by annual salary groups.


Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 261

30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
>=0 >=5 > = 10 > = 15 > = 20 > = 25 > = 30
Experience (years)

Figure 2. Female project managers’ experience distribution.

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%
> = 20 > = 25 > = 30 > = 35 > = 40 > = 45 > = 50 > = 55
Age (years)

Figure 3. Female project managers’ age distribution.

old. Nearly half of the sample participants were younger than 35 years old, and just fewer
than 20% were over 50 years old. When combined with the experience data, the age data
indicates that many female projects managers in construction over 50 years of age have
taken time away at some point in their careers, likely to attend to child bearing and rearing
responsibilities.
Of the total female project managers working in the construction industry, 39% are
single, 61% are married, and 56% are mothers. Of the mothers, 43% have children living
at home, more than half of those, 53% have one child at home, 40% have two children at
home and 7% have three children currently living in their home. The remaining 57% of
mothers do not have children living in their home.
Among women who are mothers, 58% were employed full-time at a construction com-
pany when they gave birth, 60% of them took a maternity leave for less than three months,
and 12% were away from work for more than a year. Of these women, 80% returned to their
previous positions, and 70% came back to work for the same annual salary. The remain-
ing women, 22% saw an increase in salary while 8% received a lower salary than before
childbirth. With 92% of mothers reporting that they received the same or higher wages
upon returning to work, it appears maternity leave itself does not have a negative impact
on salary beyond a small loss of experience. However the loss of experience should not be
underestimated as experience is shown to be a strong predictor of salaries.
In order to test the hypotheses of the study, the data’s normality of distribution was
tested using JMP’s normal probability plot (q-q plot) and Shapiro-Wilk W test. After
confirming the normality of the data, each independent variable was tested for a rela-
tionship with the dependent variable. Testing for a relationship was done using linear
262 D. Bilbo et al.

regression and t-tests. After initial testing, interactions between any two independent
variables that had a significant relationship with salary were tested for using ANOVA.
Finally, simultaneous multiple regression was performed on the variables that were found
to have relationships with salary and interaction effects of the predictor variables that
were significant. Simultaneous multiple regression was used because it is the best method
when the researchers don’t know which variables will have the strongest prediction power
(Leech, Barrett, & Morgan, 2008). Variables that did not have strong prediction power were
removed through the analysis steps. The analysis produced a model that only includes the
strongest predictive variables, known as the “best fit model.”
Simple linear regression was computed to investigate whether experience predicts
salary. Experience (M = 12.477 years; SD = 8.677 years) significantly predicted salary
(M = $71,467.48; SD = $18,127.40; F (1, 205) = 141.336; p < .001) adjusted R2 =
.406. According the Cohen (1988), this is a large effect size. It indicates that 41% of the
variance in salary can be explained by experience. The null hypothesis that there is no sig-
nificant relationship between salary and years of construction experience for women can be
rejected. Figure 4 shows the scatter plot and positive trend line depicting the relationship
between women’s salaries and years of construction experience.
Again simple regression was computed to investigate whether age predicts salary.
Age (M = 38.63 years, SD = 9.578 years) significantly predicted salary (M = $71,467.48;
SD = $18,127.40); F(1, 205) = 106.164; p < .001; adjusted R2 = .339) According to
Cohen (1988), this is a large effect size. It indicates that 34% of the variance in salary can
be explained by age. The null hypothesis, that there is no significant relationship between
salary and age in the construction industry for women, can be rejected. Figure 5 shows the
scatter plot and positive trend line depicting the relationship between women’s salaries
and age.
As was expected, experience and age have positive effects on salary, and explain a con-
siderable portion of variability in female project manager’s salaries. Older female project
managers with more construction experience earn more than those with less construction
experience. The interaction between experience and age is important because it indicates
that mothers do not suffer an arbitrary penalty throughout their career, rather only during
their child bearing and rearing years is the wage penalty affecting them. The interaction
between age and experience points to women seeing advancement and increases in salary
after their children leave home.
Table 1 shows that single women were significantly different from married women on
salary (p = .004) Inspection of the two group means indicates that the average salary for

35
Construction experience

30
25
20
(years)

15
10
5
0
0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000
Salary (US $)

Figure 4. Female project managers’ salary and years of experience scatter plot.
Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 263

65
60
55
50

Age (years)
45
40
35
30
25
20
0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000
Salary (US $)

Figure 5. Female project managers’ salary and age scatter plot.

Table 1. Comparison of married and single women construction project managers on


salary (n = 125 married and 81 single)

Variable M SD t df P
Salary −2.897 204 .003
Married $68,458.40 $16,346.35
Single $76,110.10 $19,796.44

single women (M = $76,111.10) is significantly higher than salary (M = $68,458.40) for


married women. The difference between means is $7,652.70. The effect size d is approx-
imately .422, which according to Cohen (1988) is slightly smaller than typical. The null
hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between salary and marital status in the
construction industry for women can be rejected. This wage disparity between married
and single project managers, demonstrates a strong relationship between these variables.
Based on the literature, particularly Bilbo and White’s (1990) study, the researchers con-
clude that this occurs primarily because of the demands imposed on construction project
managers. A construction project manager position tends to be very demanding of time,
requiring long hours daily and often weekend work, and a married woman is likely to have
additional demands on their time resulting from their spouse. Further because project man-
agers are often compensated with higher salaries for mobility and willingness to relocate.
A married woman’s salary is likely to be lower as relocation and mobility may not be
possible because of the demands of the spouse’s employment. Regarding the often intense
time commitment required of project managers, due to tight construction schedules, and
the nature of the industry, the authors can only offer the suggestion that project managers
be provided with more support staff to eliminate these obstacles to married women.
Table 2 shows that women who are mothers were not significantly different from
other women on salary (p = .218) Inspection of the two group means indicates that the
average salary for women who are mothers (M = $70,093.97) is lower than for other
women (M = $73,237.78). The difference between means is $3,143.81. The effect size d
is approximately .173, which is much smaller than typical according to Cohen (1988). The
null hypothesis—that there is no significant relationship between salary and motherhood
in the construction industry—cannot be rejected. Although the null hypothesis cannot be
rejected, the difference of more than $3,100 between the groups may represent a practically
significant difference (Gilner et al., 2009). The researchers believe this relationship is
264 D. Bilbo et al.

Table 2. Comparison of women who are mothers and other women on salary (n = 116
mothers and 90 others)

Variable M SD t df P
Salary −1.236 204 .218
Mothers $70,093.97 $17,255.48
Others $73,237.78 $19,144.99

indicative of the small loss of experience while a mother is on maternity leave, not an
arbitrary wage penalty for having children.
While being a mother is related to a four and one half percent wage penalty, marriage
is related to a wage penalty of eleven percent. The researchers consider this the most inter-
esting finding of the study, as it seems counterintuitive. Marriage likely does not require
time away from work like maternity leave would, nor would one think that the additional
time requirements for marriage are greater than those of child bearing and rearing. The
authors conclude that this is the result of a woman’s ability and willingness to relocate
being reduced more by a spouse and their job than by having children. The relocation
question then affects salaries as married women do not receive the increased compensation
that often accompanies relocation.
Table 3 shows that women who have children at home were significantly different from
women without children at home on salary (p = .001). Inspection of the two group means
indicates that the average salary for women who have children at home (M = $64,892.05) is
lower than average salary for women without children at home (M = $76,371.19). The
difference between means is $11,479.14. The effect size d is approximately .673, which,
according to Cohen (1988), is slightly larger than typical. The null hypothesis—that there
is no significant relationship between women’s salary in the construction industry and
women having their children living at home—can be rejected. Being married and having
children at home are both related to lower salaries when compared to women who are
single and women without children at home. While the authors believe that this reduction is
primarily the result of the loss in experience for women while on maternity leave, that loss
of experience cannot explain all of the difference in salary. The additional time constraints
married women and mothers experience as their mobility is limited, and they bear the
additional responsibilities for the care and nurture of their children and spouse undoubtedly
contribute.
No statistically significant difference was found among the three levels of children at
home (F (2, 204) = 1.448; p = .241) Table 4 shows that the mean salary is $67,514.89 for
women with one child at home, $61,880.00 for women with two children at home, and
$61,916.67 for women with three children at home. The null hypothesis—that there is no

Table 3. Comparison of mothers with children at home and mothers with no children at
home (n = 116 mothers and 90 others)
Variable M SD t df P
Salary −4.724 204 .0001
Children at home $64,892.05 $15,560.30
No children at home $76,371.19 $18,410.48
Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 265

Table 4. Means and standard deviations comparing salaries and number of children at
home

Salaries

Number of Children at Home N M SD


1 Child at home 47 $67,514.85 $16,370.85
2 Children at home 35 $61,880.00 $14,885.11
3 Children at home 6 $61,916.67 $10,091.66
Total 88 $64,892.05 $15,560.29

significant relationship between salary and number of children at home in the construc-
tion industry for women—cannot be rejected. While there is not much difference between
having two and three children at home, the difference between having one child at home
and having two or three children at home is more than $5,500, which represents a practical
significance (Gilner et al. 2009) between these groups.
Simultaneous multiple regression was conducted to investigate the predictors of
women’s salary in construction. The means, standard deviations, and inter-correlations
can be found in Table 5. The combination of variables (age; experience; age ∗ experience;
having children at home; marital status; and experience ∗ marital status) used to predict
salary was statistically significant (F(6,199) = 36.152; p < .001). The beta coefficients are
presented in Table 6. Note that age, experience, and age∗ experience significantly predict
salary when all six variables are included. The adjusted R2 value was .498. This indicates
that 50% of the variance in salary was explained by the model. According to Cohen (1988),
this is a large effect.
After further testing, the interaction effect between experience and marital status was
removed from the model because it did not increase R2 . Age, experience, marital status,
having children at home, and the interaction between age and experience were found

Table 5. Means standard deviations, and intercorrelations for salaries and predictor
variables (N = 206)

Child Age Exp.∗ M



Variable M SD Age Exp. Home M Stat Exp Status
Salary $71,467 $18,127 0.585∗ 0.640∗ −0.314∗ 0.207∗ 0.596∗ 0.650∗

Predictor Variables
Age 38.63 9.578 − .903∗ −.248∗ .070 .920∗ .778∗
Experience 12.477 8.677 − −.302∗ .067 .987∗ .862∗
Children at .43 .496 − −.354∗ −.300∗ −.373∗
home
M Stat 1.39 .490 − .073 .473∗
Age ∗ Exp 556.607 487.998 − .852∗
Exp ∗ M 17.667 14.888 −
Stat
Note: ∗ p < .001.
266 D. Bilbo et al.

Table 6. Simultaneous multiple regression analysis summary for age, experience, children
at home, marital status, age∗ experience, and experience∗ marital status (N = 206)

Variable B SEB ß
Age 625.658 238.194 .331∗∗
Experience 3627.276 717.943 1.736∗∗
Children At Home −3875.452 2024.295 −.106∗
Marital Status −617.776 3343.789 −.017
Age∗ Experience −65.706 12.469 −1.769∗∗
Experience∗ Marital Status 451.727 208.589 .371∗
Note: R2 = .52; F (6,199) = 36.152; p < .001.

p < .05; ∗∗ p < .001.

to be the variables constituting the “best fit model.” In this model experience has the
strongest predictive power, followed by the interaction effect between experience and age.
Having children at home and marital status were the third and fourth strongest predictors,
respectively. Age alone was the weakest predictor of salary among these variables.

Conclusion
The outlook for women has become brighter in the construction industry. The wage dis-
parity between men and women in construction is the second lowest of any industry in the
United States, for female project managers the wage penalty for mothers is lower, and most
female project managers are able to return to their jobs after maternity leave, in some cases
even earning higher salaries. Yet female participation in construction management remains
very low. While these factors should serve to attract and retain more women to the con-
struction industry, that does not seem to be occurring. The small percentage of women in
the construction industry indicates that problems with the construction culture (Menches &
Abraham, 2007), may discourage young women from seeking an education or career in the
construction industry, as they may be attracted to careers and industries with more flexible
and mother-friendly characteristics. To attract and keep more women, and thus increase
gender diversity in the construction industry, construction companies need to restructure
their positions into more flexible, women and mother-friendly careers. Of primary concern
are the additional time commitments and pressures for mobility and willingness to relocate
as these factors are not family friendly.
The authors recognize that this study does not represent a comprehensive evaluation of
female project manager’s salaries or the variables that may affect them. Rather they submit
the results as the first sets of data and conclusions on a topic that has not seen quantitative
study in the construction industry. To continue building upon this body of knowledge,
relating to women in the construction industry, the researchers recommend future research
in the following areas:

• Are married women and mothers less productive to the extent that the salary
reduction justifies the wage penalty found in this study?
• Do the independent variables tested in this study (age, experience, marital status,and
having children at home) impact male project managers’ salaries in the construction
industry?
Family-Related Factors and Female Project Manager Salaries 267

• Do women perceive the industry to be unfriendly to married women and mothers as


the findings of this study suggest?
• The researchers also invite future replication of this study to explore if these vari-
ables continue to be related to the salaries of women construction project managers
in the United States, or of women in other countries or positions.

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