Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings includes abstracts of all papers and symposia presented at the annual conference, plus 6-page abridged versions of the “Best Papers” accepted for inclusion in the program (approximately 10%). Papers published in the Proceedings are abridged because presenting papers at their full length could preclude subsequent journal publication. Please contact the author(s) directly for the full papers.

Potential and the Gender Promotion Gap

    We show that widely-used subjective assessments of employee ``potential'' contribute to gender gaps in promotion and pay. Using data on 29,809 management-track employees from a large North American retail chain, we find that women receive substantially lower potential ratings despite receiving higher job performance ratings. Differences in potential ratings account for approximately half of the gender promotion gap. Women's lower potential ratings do not appear to be based on accurate forecasts of future performance or attrition: women subsequently outperform male colleagues with the same potential ratings, both on average and on the margin of promotion, and women are less likely to exit the firm. Despite this, women's subsequent potential ratings remain low, suggesting that firms persistently underestimate the potential of their female employees.

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