To uncover the antecedents of gender segregation, scholars have largely focused on how employers’ evaluations of job candidates and employees directly contribute to men and women being sorted into different jobs and organizations. A key precursor to the gender composition of who is hired, however, is the extent to which men and women are differentially represented in the pool of candidates who apply to jobs. We contend that the gender composition of an organization’s leadership team and the organization’s social claims of commitment are of particular importance in shaping the gender composition of the applicant pool. Addressing this research question poses a key empirical challenge: it is necessary to observe not only those who do apply to a job, but also the risk pool of those would could have applied. We address this challenge using a unique field experimental design and find that congruence between firm leadership gender composition and social claims is a key predictor of whether prospective applicants apply for an otherwise identical job vacancy. Furthermore, these organizational characteristics differentially affect male and female job seeker interest in jobs in systematic ways.
Mabel Abraham, and Vanessa Burbano. "Leadership Gender and Social Claims Affect the Gender Composition of the Applicant Pool: Field Experimental Evidence." Columbia Business School, 2005.
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