New Study Finds A Woman Won’t Get Hired If She’s Only Up Against Men

We all know about the wage gap in the work place where women are making less money than men, even for doing the same jobs. However, a new study found when it comes to landing a new job, and a woman is only up against other male candidates, she has no chance of getting hired. 

Published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business asked 200 undergraduates to look at the applications of equally-qualified candidates for one role. When it got down to four final candidates, one woman and three men, the majority of the undergrads chose a man for the position. Regarding women’s chances of getting hired, the researchers wrote, “their odds of being hired were statistically zero.”

When the researchers switched up the finalist candidates by adding one more woman to the mix, this is where the undergraduates became more likely to consider hiring a woman. 

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According to the study, “When two of the three finalists were women, participants tended to recommend hiring a woman.”

Basically, it’s not just hard being a woman and getting the job, but it’s even tougher if you’re the only woman in a pool of only male candidates. 

You might be wondering why hiring managers may think a woman is more qualified when she’s the only one competing against male applicants. 

The researchers explained, saying, “For one thing, t highlights how different she is from the norm. And deviating from the norm can be risky for decision makers, as people tend to ostracize people who are different from the group. For women and minorities, having your differences made salient can also lead to inferences of incompetence.”

They went to say, “Managers need to know that working to get one woman or minority considered for a position might be futile, because the odds are likely slim if they are the lone woman or nonwhite candidate. But if managers can change the status quo of the finalist pool by including two women, then the women have a fighting chance.”

Depending on the industry, there might not be several occasions where a woman is the only one of her gender competing against male candidates for a position. But in male-dominated industries like STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or finance, what does it say about companies’ hiring practices if they do in fact not hire a woman when she’s they only one in a final talent pool of men? 

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.