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The role of career history in gender based biases in job selection decisions

Shlomo Hareli (Graduate School of Management, University of Haifa, Mt Carmel, Israel)
Motti Klang (Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Mt Carmel, Israel)
Ursula Hess (Department of Psychology, University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 9 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present research is to test the hypothesis that hiring decisions are influenced by the perceived femininity and masculinity of candidates as inferred from their career history.

Design/methodology/approach

Two job selection simulation studies were conducted in which students with and without personnel selection experience assessed the suitability of male and female job candidates for male and female sex‐typed jobs. The candidate's CVs varied with regard to the gender typicality of the candidate's career history.

Findings

As predicted, when they previously had occupied another gender atypical job, both men and women were perceived as more suitable for a job that is more typical of the opposite gender. These decisions were mediated fully for women and partially for men by the impact of the gender typicality of the candidate's career on their perceived masculinity or femininity. In addition, men who had a gender atypical career history were perceived as less suitable for gender typical jobs. Thus, for men a gender atypical career history can serve as a “double edged sword.” Importantly, experienced and inexperienced decision makers were equally subject to this effect.

Originality/value

Career history provides individuating information about a candidate over and above the skills and experiences they are likely to have. Gender type is one such information that is pertinent in a job market that divides jobs into male and female typical and makes hiring decisions on this basis. Previous research has largely ignored this aspect of career history.

Keywords

Citation

Hareli, S., Klang, M. and Hess, U. (2008), "The role of career history in gender based biases in job selection decisions", Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 252-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430810870502

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited