Women appear to be more selective in their job hunting than men.
Women are 16% more successful than men at landing a job after applying, and 18% more likely than men to be hired when applying for more senior roles, according to LinkedIn’s new Gender Insights report. One explanation for this success: Women are more selective than men about which jobs they apply for — they apply to 20% fewer jobs, and are 16% less likely to apply for an opening after viewing it. They are 26% less likely to seek a referral for a job of interest to them.
Women also face a steeper challenge drawing the attention of recruiters, who gravitate toward male LinkedIn profiles, the report added. Recruiters are 13% less likely to visit a woman’s profile when she appears in a search. But once a recruiter actually views a woman’s profile, they’re just 3% less likely to reach out via private InMail message. “After recruiters review a candidate’s profile, they find women to be as qualified as men and reach out to both genders at a similar rate,” the report said.
“Stereotypes have a lot to do with the role that recruiters play,” Anna Beninger, senior director of research at the women’s leadership research nonprofit Catalyst, told MarketWatch. “Stereotypes about who fits into what particular job, and preconceived notions about who’s done the job in the past.”
“There are a lot of associations that we have with leadership, and [they are] synonymous with masculine characteristics,” she added. “For most jobs, there are stereotypes about men being the natural fit and that can influence why recruiters will gravitate more often towards a man’s profile.”
The LinkedIn report also found that women pay more attention to benefits than men: They’re 10% more likely than men to say salary range and benefits like health care or paid parental leave are important to include in a job description. “When an employer shares salary ranges in their job postings, this could be seen as a signal that they are committed to transparency and fair pay regardless of the candidate’s gender or background,” the authors wrote.
Women are also more likely than men to want to know the day-to-day tasks of a role (50% to 41%) and less likely to think information about long-term career opportunities is important to include (28% to 34%). Men and women are open to new job opportunities at similar rates, and viewed a near-equal number of jobs on the site last year.
The report drew from an April 2017 survey of 6,536 LinkedIn members from more than 20 countries, as well as an April 2018 survey of 376 members on the site’s Insight Community panel.
Research on gender bias in job applications has shown mixed results. In one 2012 Yale University study, science faculty members reviewed a lab-manager job application from a student randomly assigned a male or female name. The scientists — both men and women — were more likely to hire the man. They judged him to be more competent, showed more willingness to mentor, and were even willing to compensate him $4,000 more.
Meanwhile, a 2017 study in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Project Management looked at how male and female candidates in project management might be perceived differently on characteristics like competence, likeability and trust. Using two identical candidates named either Susan or Stan, the researchers only found that the woman was less likely to get the job when the candidate’s perceived technical competence was low. But when the candidate’s technical competence was perceived to be higher, the woman was more likely to land the gig.
Employers suffering from a gender imbalance in hiring can take steps to improve. Among other strategies, LinkedIn advises that employers benchmark their current gender distribution and set goals; highlight female employees and use sponsored content to engage a more diverse audience; and make job posts more inclusive (for example, focusing on key objectives rather than on qualifications, and using gender-neutral language).