While discrimination is often discussed, and rightly so, in groups focused on groups with a long history of misbehavior in the workplace, research from the University of Oslo highlights that men can also be discriminated against in the workplace, especially when applying for roles in women-dominated occupations.
Exploring the labor landscape in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, the study found that while women are still increasingly discriminated against across the board in each of these countries, both in terms of their dominance and their income, Men are up to 9% less likely to go ahead with an application than women.
“If men applied for general ‘female’ jobs, they were less likely to be invited for interviews or asked to provide more information about themselves,” the researchers explained. “If male-dominated occupations related to industrial society continue to disappear and gender-neutral occupations continue to grow in size, we would expect gender stereotypes to become less important over time.”
This is important because throughout the developed world, historically women-dominated sectors such as education and healthcare have grown significantly and are projected to continue to grow rapidly in the years to come. Despite the growth in these sectors, the share of men working in them has not declined since the 1970s, although the share of employment from manufacturing and even the overall participation of men in the labor force has declined significantly.
A research paper from Bocconi University highlights that the share of manufacturing employment in the United States fell from 29.7% in 1968 to just 12.7% in 2008. What’s more, labor force participation has dropped from 80% to just 70% over the same period.
In light of increasing employment in more women-dominated sectors, the author wanted to explore why men are not going where jobs were. They conducted a large-scale field trial through a UK-wide recruitment scheme for social workers. This allows them to observe not only who is applying but who was accepted and how successful applicants performed on the job.
The test was designed to allow perceived gender sharing for each role and the expected return test on the candidate’s abilities. With the former, the applicants were shown a picture of a current employee, with this person sometimes male and sometimes female. The role of the applicants also provided information on the past performance of the staff.
The results show that while men expected their returns to be higher, about 15% more applications were accepted by men. What’s more, because the applicant’s pool was wider, it was often of a higher quality and as a result men would secure more job offers.
Interestingly, these men were also seen to perform well in their roles and fewer men were less likely to quit their jobs than men who generally applied.
However, the consequences for women were that since they were more sensitive to the provision of information, they were less likely to apply and then more likely to quit when they got the job, when they believed there was a larger proportion. Men in the job. This phenomenon was originally limited to less talented women, however, so greater parity increases the quality of the talent pool.
Often attempts are made to correct unequal gender representation in the workplace so that advertisements focus on ensuring that a good mix of people is represented. Qualitatively, a 2015 survey found that Google images are often extremely unpleasant when people search for specific occupations. What’s more, these skewed views reflected the real opinions of people about gender diversity in their respective fields.
Bocconi researcher cited a campaign by the Oregon Center for Nursing, which asked men in a 2002 recruitment campaign if they were “enough people to become nurses.” Similarly, the UK’s National Health Service seeks to provide a more realistic representation of male nurses as it seeks to address huge labor shortages. But he is skeptical about how much difference these campaigns will make.
However, the benefits of both reducing the stigma attached to men working in the so-called female profession and actually promoting the benefits that men perceive are evident in increasing the overall quality of the workforce, especially in sectors that are struggling to attract the talent needed for their advancement.