Women less likely to respond to competitive job ads, says research

Men are more competitively inclined than women and this might explain gender imbalances in the workplace, according to a US report.

Men are more competitively inclined than women and this might explain gender imbalances in the workplace, according to a US report.

The report, Do Competitive Workplaces Deter Female Workers, by researchers from the University of Chicago studied job-entry decisions by nearly 7,000 interested jobseekers by placing adverts for two similar positions on internet job boards. Both were clerical jobs, but one was titled “Seeking sports news assistant” while the other was a more general appeal for administrative help. Some applicants were told they would get a fixed rate of $15 an hour while others were told they would work in pairs and be given a base salary plus the best worker would get a bonus.

More women applied for both jobs than men, but the proportion of women applying for the more general advert was much higher and women were much less likely to respond to the salary plus bonus set-up.

It found that women disproportionately shy away from competitive work settings. However, it also discovered important factors that attenuate gender differences, including whether the job is performed in teams, whether the job task is “female-oriented”, and the local labour market.





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