The Intersection of Gender & Race: Effects on the Incidence of Promotions


  • Dr. Margaret Yap Ryerson University


intersection, gender, race, promotion, impact


Using administrative data from a large firm in Canada, this empirical paper first explores the determinants of promotions and then looks at the advancement experiences of white women, minority men and minority women relative to white men. Findings show that white men enjoy a comparative advantage over white females, minority males and minority females. Both horizontal segregation (job family) and vertical segregation (job levels) have significant negative implications on the career advancement of race/gender minority groups. Organizations’ policies, programs and practices that strive for a transparent promotion process will help ensure fair advancement opportunities for all employees, irrespective of their gender or race.


Abraham, K.G. & Medoff, J.L. (1985). Length of Service and Promotions in Union and Nonunion Work Groups. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 38(3), 408-420.

Baker, G.P., Gibbs, M. & Holmstrom, B. (1994a). The Wage Policy of a Firm. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 109(4), 921-955.

Baker, G.P., Gibbs, M. & Holmstrom, B. (1994b). The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 109(4), 881-919.

Barnett, W.P., Baron, J.N. & Stuart, T.E. (2000). Avenues of Attainment: Occupational Demography and Organizational Careers in the California Civil Service, The American Journal of Sociology, 106(1), 88- 144.

Berkowitz, M.K. & Kotowitz, Y. (1993). Promotions as Work Incentives. Economic Inquiry, XXXI, 342-353.

Blackaby, D.H., Leslie, D.G., Murphy, P. D. & O’Leary, N.C. (1998). The Ethnic Wage Gap and Employment Differentials in the 1990s: Evidence for Britain. Economic Letters, 58, 97-103.

Blau, F.D. & Devaro, J. (2007). “New Evidence on Gender Differences in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires,” Industrial Relations, 46(3),


Blinder, A.S. (1973). Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates. Journal of Human Resources, 8(4), 436-455.

Bognanno, M. L. (2001). Corporate Tournaments. Journal of Labor Economics, 19(2), 290-315.

Booth, A.L., Francesconi, M. & Frank, J. (2003). A Sticky Floors Model of Promotion, Pay, and Gender. European Economic Review, 47(2), 295- 322.

Brown, C. & Medoff, J.L. (2001). Firm Age and Wages. Working Paper No. 8552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.

Cabral, R., Ferber, M.A. & Green, C.A. (1981). Men and Women in Fiduciary Institutions: A Study of Sex Differences in Career Development. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 63(4), 573-580.

Cannings, K. (1988). Managerial Promotion: The Effects of Socialization, Specialization and Gender. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 42(1), 77-88.

Cassell, F. H., Director, S.M. & Doctors, S.I. (1975). Discrimination within Internal Labor Markets. Industrial Relations, 14(3), 337-344.

Chernesky, R.H. (2003). Examining the Glass Ceiling: Gender Influences on Promotion Decisions, Administration in Social Work, 27(2), 13-18.

Chow, I.H.S. & Crawford, R.B. (2004). Gender, Ethnic diversity and Career Advancement in the Workplace: The Social Identity Perspective. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 69(3), 22-39.

Christofides, L.M. & Swidinsky, R. (2002). The Relative Earnings of Visible Minorities in Canada: New Evidence from the 1996 Census.” Relations Industrielles, 57(4), 630- 659.

Cobb-Clark, D.A. (2001). Getting Ahead: The Determinants of and Payoffs to Internal Promotion for Young U.S. Man and Women. IZA Discussion Paper No. 288.

Doiron, D. & Riddell, W.C. (1994). The Impact of Unionization on Male-Female Earnings Differences in Canada. The Journal of Human Resources, 29(2), 504-534.

Eberts, R.W. & Stone, J.A. (1985). Male-Female Differences in Promotions: EEO in Public Education. Journal of Human Resources, 20(2), 504-521.

Edin, P. & Gustavsson, M. (2008). Time Out of Work and Skill Depreciation. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 61(2), 163-180.

Elvira, M. & Town, R. (2001). The Effects of Race and Worker Productivity on Performance Evaluations”, Industrial Relations, 40(4), 571-590.

Elvira, M.M. & Zatzick, C.D. (2002). Who’s Displaced First? The Role of Race in Layoff Decisions. Industrial Relations, 41(2), 329-357.

Even, W.E. & Macpherson, D.A. (1990). Plant Size and the Decline of Unionism. Economics Letter, 32, 393-398.

Ferber, M.A. & Birnbaum, B.G. (1981). Labor Force Participation Patterns and Earnings of Women Clerical Workers. Journal of Human Resources, 16(3), 416-426.

Francesconi, M. (2001). Determinants and Consequences of Promotions in Britain. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 63(3), 279-310.

Gang, I.N., Rivera-Batiz, F.L. & Yun, M.S. (2002). Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union. IZA Discussion Paper No. 578.

Gerhart, B. & Milkovich, G. (1989). Salaries, Salary Growth and Promotions of Men and Women in a Large Private Firm. In R. Michael, H. Hartmann and B. O’Farrell,

(Eds.), Pay Equity: Empirical Inquiries, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 23-43.

Gibbs, M. (1995). Incentive Compensation in a Corporate Hierarchy. Journal of Accounting and Economics, Vol. 19, 247-277.

Greenhaus, J. H., Parasuraman, S. & Wormley, W.M. (1990). Effects of Race on Organizational Experiences, Job Performance Evaluations and Career Outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 33(1), 64-86.

Hartmann, H.I. (1987). Internal Labor Markets and Gender: A Case Study of Promotion. In C. Brown and J.A. Pechman (Eds.), Gender in the Workplace, The Brookings Institution: Washington, DC.

Hersch, J. & Viscusi, W.K. (1996). Gender Differences in Promotions and Wages. Industrial Relations, 35(4), 461-472.

Hewlett, S.A. & Luce, C.B. (2005). Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success, Harvard Business Review, March, 43-54.

Hum, D. & Simpson, W. (1999). Wage Opportunities for Visible Minorities in Canada. Canadian Public Policy, 25(3), 379-394.

Igbaria, M. & Greenhaus, J.H. (1992), The Career Advancement Prospects of Managers and Professionals: Are MIS Employees Unique? Decision Sciences, 23, 478-499.

James, E.H. (2000). Race-Related Differences in Promotions and Support: Underlying Effects of Human and Social Capital. Organization Science, 11(5), 493-508.

Jones, D. R. & Makepeace, G.H. (1996). Equal Worth, Equal Opportunities: Pay and Promotion in an Internal Labour Market. The Economic Journal, 106, 401-409.

Konrad, A.M. & Cannings, K. (1997). The Effects of Gender Role Congruence and Statistical Discrimination on Managerial Advancement. Human Relations, 50(10), 1305-1328.

Lazear, E.P. & Rosen, S. (1990). Male Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders. Journal of Labor Economics, 8(1), S106-S123.

Lewis, G. B. (1986). Gender and Promotions: Promotion Chances of White Men and Women in Federal White-Collar Employment. Journal of Human Resources, 21(3), 406- 419.

Li, P.S. (2008). The Role of Foreign Credentials and Ethnic Ties in Immigrants’ Economic Performance, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 33(2), 291-310.

Lyness, K. S. & Heilman, M.E. (2006). When Fit is Fundamental: Performance Evaluations and Promotions of Upper-Level Female and Male Managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 777-785.

MacDonald, Z. (1998).The Under-Reporting of Property Crime: A Micro econometric Analysis. University of Leicester Working Paper.

Maume, D.J. (1999). Glass Ceilings and Glass Escalators. Work and Occupations, 26(4), 483-509.

McCue, K. (1996). Promotions and Wage Growth. Journal of Labor Economics, 14(2), 175-209.

Oaxaca, R.L. (1973). Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets. International Economic Review, 14(3), 693-709.

Oi, W.Y. (1990). Employment Relations in Dual Labor Markets. Journal of Labor Economics, 8(1), Part 2: Essays in Honour of Albert Rees, S124-S149.

Olson, C.A. & Becker, B.E. (1983). Sex Discrimination in the Promotion Process. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 36(4), 624-641.

Pekkarinen, T. & Vartiainen, J. (2006). Gender Differences in Promotion on a Job Ladder: Evidence from Finnish Metalworkers. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 59(2), 285-301.

Pendakur , K. & Pendakur, R. (1998). The Colour of Money: Earnings Differentials Among Ethnic Groups in Canada. Canadian Journal of Economics, 31(3), pp.518-548.

Pergamit, M.R. & Veum, J.R. (1999). What is a Promotion? Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 52(4), 581-601.

Prendergast, C. (1993). The Role of Promotion in Inducing Specific Human Capital Acquisition. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(2), 523-534.

Pudney, S. & Shields, M.A. (2000). Gender and Racial Discrimination in Pay and Promotion for NHS Nurses. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 62, 801-835.

Rosenbaum, J.E. (1979). Organizational Career Mobility: Promotion Chances in a Corporation during Periods of Growth and Contraction. American Journal of Sociology, 85(1), 21-48.

Spurr, S. J. (1990). Sex Discrimination in the Legal Profession: A Study of Promotion. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 43(4), 406-417.

Stelcner, M. (2000). Earnings Differentials Among Ethnic Groups in Canada: A Review of the Research. Review of Social Economy, 58(3), 295-317.

Stewart, L. P. & Gudykunst, W.B. (1982). Differential Factors Influencing the Hierarchical Level and Number of Promotions of Males and Females within an Organization. Academy of Management Journal, 25(3), 586-597.

Swimmer, G. (1990). Gender Based Differences in Promotions of Clerical Workers. Relations Industrielles, 45(2), 300-310.

Tomaskovic-Devey, D., Thomas, M. & Johnson, K. (2005). Race and the Accumulation of Human Capital Across the Career: A Theoretical Model and Fixed-Effects Application. American Journal of Sociology, 111(1), 58-89.

Williams, C. L. (1995). Still a Man’s World: Men Who Do “Women’s” Work. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Winter-Ebmer, R. & Zweimuller, J. (1997). Unequal Assignment and Unequal Promotion in Job Ladders. Journal of Labor Economics, 15(1), 43-71.




How to Cite

Yap, D. M. . (2010). The Intersection of Gender & Race: Effects on the Incidence of Promotions. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 9(2), 22–33. Retrieved from