It pays to be a dad.
That’s according to a new study from the University of British Columbia (UBC), which has found that fathers in the workplace tend to get paid better than their childless peers.
The study published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, found that men with kids tended to get the pay benefit, even when they aren’t harder workers.
Researchers used data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey collected between 1999 and 2005, looking at more than 18,000 white men in more than 5,000 workplaces.
Men of colour were left out because of an existing pay gap between them and white men.
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Lead author and UBC sociology professor Sylvia Fuller says bosses tend to favour dads because it seems like they are working harder even when they’re not.
“Employers are taking the opportunity to favour dads in chances for promotion or opportunities that lead to higher wages, when those the relationships tend to be more loosey-goosey,” said Fuller.
The study found that dads who worked in managerial positions did the best, with a pay advantage of about 6.9 per cent, while those in other occupations did about 3.6 per cent better than their childless peers.
Fathers with a university degree also did better, with a 5.3 per cent net wage advantage in the workplace.
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However, the study found the pay bumps weren’t tied to performance.
In fact, when fathers’ wages were reviewed through mechanisms such as performance reviews, their pay advantages tended to be reduced and sometimes even reversed.
Fuller argued that the results suggest employers are letting their mental image of fatherhood get in the way of fair pay scales.
“They think dads are working hard, they have positive stereotypes about them, or maybe they just think, you know, dads deserve more because they’re thinking of their family responsibilities.”
She said the results should be cause for concern, as they suggest workplaces are discriminating against employees who choose not to, or are unable to have kids.