Gender preferences in hiring decisions is a very current subject. It has been proved that there is an inequity in salaries between men and women, and that men will more often occupy leadership positions than women. But does gender really has an influence in hiring decisions? In this paper one will try to investigate this. The first point will treat the different gender stereotypes. The second point will cover the three main factors that have an influence on hiring decisions and the effect of gender on promotions. The third and final point will handle a new gender subtype: females with masculine characteristics. Gender specific traits
Stereotypes, a psychological process which illustrates structured sets of beliefs about the personal attributes of men and women. Men are physically stronger than women. Women cry more often than men. Men are responsible for the income, women for the house holding. Women are perceived as passive, yielding and supportive, men as independent, persistent and competitive. Men are better in sports than women. Et cetera. Those stereotypes are the base of gender discrimination which has been a phenomenon that has been existing for centuries. Stereotyped jobs already existed in preindustrial societies. During that era it was generally accepted that muscular and intellectual work, such as hunting, was work for men while domestic chores, such as cooking and cleaning, were work for women. Even while in today's society 63 percent of women has a job and the content of jobs in general has evolved, thinking that there are no more gender-dominated fields is wrong! Certain vacancies will still mainly be occupied by women and others by men even if in some cases the opposite sex would be more qualified for that particular job. This is what we call gender-stereotyped jobs. The nursing sector is one of the best examples; statistics show that 92 percent of nurses in America are women. Hiring
The decision of hiring is a very difficult process which will be influenced by several factors. Firstly, there are the qualifications applicants possess. Even if it sounds logical that higher educated applicants will be more likely hired than less qualified applicants, in practice this will not always be the case. Researchers have found that, even if men are less qualified than women, in numerous cases men will still be preferred to fill vacancies. Sometimes one can blame employment equity programs for this, because in some cases they will achieve the opposite effect of their original purpose. Secondly, there is the sex of the decision maker. Several researches have indicated that female decision makers appear to hire more women than their male colleagues do. Thirdly, one should take the gender-stereotyped jobs into consideration. In traditional male environments, men will be hired more frequently while women will be more likely to obtain a job in a more female environment. However, for some professions men are simply better qualified. Finally, one should not forget factors such as spontaneity during the first contact with the decision maker, attractiveness, race, etc. However, in this paper one will only concentrate on the first three factors: the qualifications of the applicants, the sex of the decision maker and the gender-stereotyped jobs. Therefore one can conclude that gender does have an influence on hiring decisions. Applicants with more masculine characteristics will be hired more often than applicants with feminine characteristics depending on the environment. Promotions
When talking about promotions, there are two terms one should certainly mention, 'the glass ceiling' and 'the glass escalator'. The former means that men tend to be promoted more often than their colleagues of the opposite sex, whether they work in stereotyped jobs or not. To obtain an equal position in the hierarchy, women should be way more qualified than their male opponents. In the statistics this results in higher percentage of men in management functions. However, those figures can be nuanced. Discrimination is not the only reason why this percentage of female managers is that low. Most of the women are simply not as eager to make a career like their male opponents do. And this manifests itself in the fact that women go working part time in order to have time for their children too. And the latter means that even if men work in female dominated environments, they will still obtain promotions into the management more rapidly than their female opponents. This means that men are not only advantaged in the hiring stage but also during their entire career. A new gender subtype
Discrimination against women in hiring decisions and careers is a consequence of several stereotypes. Before a solution can be found that mediates the gender discrimination, these stereotypes have to disappear. First of all it has to be considered that these stereotyped beliefs may not be the right traits to refer to a particular job application. One method of combating sex discrimination is to pay more attention at the individuating information, specific information that is related to the required qualifications for the job. Researchers have proved that stereotypes can be reduced by searching this kind of information. However, only if these characteristics are relevant for the job. Such information can demonstrate that a female candidate does not fit into the typical feminine stereotype because of her male characteristics and therefore she can be suitable for a job in a typical male environment. These females can be categorized in a new gender subtype, the masculine female. This new type includes all women who possess male qualities required for a job, such as annalistic qualities, being goal oriented, being very strong, et cetera. However, even if the stereotypical beliefs would decrease significantly with individuating information, gender discrimination in hiring decisions will still remain. An employer, for instance, even if he is convinced that a woman possesses all the necessary typical male characteristics, will still fill a vacancy for a traditional male function with a man. He will still prefer to hire a man only because it is logical for him to see a man occupying this position. This means that the gender stereotypes and furthermore the occupational stereotypes have to become independent and must be changed. This means that the person with the required sex will be recruited in most situations even if there exists a candidate of the opposite sex who possesses the right individuating information. Conclusion
The research question of this paper is, whether gender has an influence on the hiring process or not. To investigate this one started with exposing the stereotypes about men and women. After exposing those one have looked for the main factors that had an influence on hiring and promotions. The factors that were found are the following. First, one has the qualifications of the applicants. Secondly, there is the sex of the decision maker. And finally, there was the effect of traditionally male or female jobs. We also mentioned several other factors that might have an influence too, such as race, spontaneity during the first contact with the employer, et cetera. However, we only focused on the first three factors. In conclusion one can say that all those factors had an influence on the hiring decision and that men, in most cases, are advantaged in this process and during their entire career. In the third and final paragraph one introduced a new type of women, the masculine female. This subtype arose after taking individuating information into consideration. That women are discriminated in the hiring process is the main conclusion one can make.
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